Family, Henderson firefighters honor man who was 9/11 hero

LAS VEGAS - There was a small but poignant ceremony held in Henderson Thursday for a former New York City firefighter who died.  Paul Geidel served as a firefighter for three decades, but it was the tragedy of 9/11 where he left his biggest mark.

In Paul Geidel's home, there are pictures of his family and his service.

"It's a museum to me.  It's a museum," said Debbie Doggette, daughter of Paul Geidel.  "It's legacy.  Heroes.  All the heroes." 

Doggette's father who she loved so dearly, died Tuesday at the age of 84.

"Just as we landed in Las Vegas, he passed away," Doggette said. "I didn't get to say goodbye to him.  But he knew I was coming."

Geidel served with the FDNY for 31 years.  His sons were firefighters too.

"He did so, so much," Doggette said.  "Saved many lives."  

Geidel was lieutenant with Ladder 1 on September 11th, 2001. 
 He was there to help even as his own son, Gary Geidel, was already lost in the terrorist attacks.

Geidel and his son Ralph spent nine months looking for victims, and they found them, but their beloved Gary's body was never found.

More than 10 years later, Ralph died from 9/11 related injuries.

"My grandfather was just a real man's man.  A true patriotic American hero.  My anchor," said Ralph Geidel, Jr., grandson of Geidel.

Geidel has attended 9/11 ceremonies around Las Vegas since moving to the valley.  So, it was no surprise firefighters paid their own respects Thursday afternoon.

"All I'm going to think about is that my Dad was a hero," said Doggette.  "He will always be a hero." 

And when it comes to September 11, Doggette says, "It's a day we're never going to forget. Not in this house. I hope to God nobody forgets it in their house." 

Family members say Geidel will also be honored by New York City and its fire department in the Spring.


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