Chairman Crowley Honors the Life of Late Woodside Civic Leader Jimmy Lanza at Boulevard Gardens Memorial Day Service

May 30, 2017
Press Release

(Queens, NY) – On Monday, May 29, Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, honored the life and service of the late Woodside civic leader Jimmy Lanza, at the Boulevard Gardens American Legion Post 1836 annual Memorial Day ceremony.

Crowley presented Lanza’s family with a copy of a statement read into the Congressional Record in his honor, along with a flag that was flown over the U.S. Capitol.

“Jimmy meant so much to our community,” said Rep. Crowley. “It is my hope that this statement will serve as a record of his great heroism in our nation’s darkest hour and preserve his memory for generations to come. On the day that we pause to pay tribute to the fallen soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our nation, I’m proud to recognize Jimmy’s legacy of selflessness, service to our country, and goodwill he showed everyone who surrounded him.”

At the ceremony, Crowley joined NYS Senator Michael Gianaris, NYS Assemblymen Brian Barnwell and Michael DenDekker, and NYC Council Member Costa Constantinides in honoring Lanza. 

Below is Congressman Crowley’s statement as submitted in April:

“Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the life and service of James “Jimmy” Lanza. Jimmy passed on April 6th of this year, surrounded by his family, friends, and beloved brothers from the Fire Department of New York City, after a noble battle with brain cancer. An esteemed member of the Woodside community, Jimmy’s life was characterized by a tireless dedication to others in keeping with the highest tradition of service to our country. Jimmy gave perennially of himself, serving in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War, where he was a member of a crew of flying airborne early warning and control systems. After his tenure in the Navy, Jimmy went on to serve as a firefighter, devoting three decades to the FDNY with Engine 53, Ladder 43, in East Harlem as part of “El Barrio’s Bravest.”

“During his time with the FDNY, Jimmy devoted countless hours to the search and recovery mission at the World Trade Center in the aftermath of September 11th.  After Hurricane Katrina, he traveled to New Orleans with his FDNY comrades to assist in their rescue, search, and recovery mission. As a volunteer with the Red Cross, he stood ever-ready to lend a hand to suffering communities in the aftermath of devastation. Jimmy also served on the executive board of the FDNY Fire Family Transport Foundation, an organization devoted to providing care and comfort to the families of firefighters during times of great need or bereavement. Jimmy was also deeply involved with charitable work on behalf of wounded veterans and their families. He made numerous trips to Washington, D.C. to visit veterans in military hospitals, and assisted in many sponsored events for vets and their families. A lifetime member of the American Legion, Jimmy served as the Commander of Post 1836, at the Boulevard Gardens in Woodside, Queens. In that role, he helped to educate the community on the profound sacrifices made by those who choose to serve our country in the armed forces.

“A lifelong Woodside resident, Jimmy devoted his time after retirement from the FDNY to improving his local community. He served as the President of the Boulevard Gardens Co-op Board for 15 years, the longest anyone had ever held the position. During his tenure, he worked to improve communication between the local precinct, the community board, and the Co-op board in order to assure that issues were dealt with in a timely manner. Jimmy was also instrumental in the fight to bring fair assessment to property values for co-ops across New York City. Over his tenure as President, the Boulevard Gardens community saw a marked increase in the quality of life and overall safety, as well as the financial standing of the co-op. 

“Jimmy Lanza lived his entire life in service of others. His was the highest ideal of a life devoted to one’s community and country, and should serve as an example for us all to aspire to. He was a truly great man, and also a dear friend of mine. He was a devoted family man, and is survived by his beloved sister Marian, his nephews Keith and Michael, niece Stephanie, grand-nieces Emily and Eva, grand-nephews Brandon and Andrew, countless friends, and all of the lives he touched over the years. Mr. Speaker, Jimmy’s commitment to both community and country was, and will continue to be, an inspiration to all of us. I ask my colleagues to join me in honoring the life and legacy of James J. Lanza. May he rest in peace.”