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Bittersweet St. Patrick’s Day for FDNY after deadly Iraq crash
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Christopher J. Raguso, left, and FDNY Fire Marshal Christopher “Tripp”Zanetis.

The FDNY took somber pause from its St. Patrick’s Day celebrations to mourn the loss of two of its own who were killed last week in a helicopter crash in Iraq.

“We’ll be smiling on Fifth Avenue, but really these smiles will be a mask for the shroud of sadness that covers this department once again,” Commissioner Daniel Nigro said as the parade began.

Fire Marshal Christopher “Tripp” Zanetis and Lt. Christopher Raguso, a married father of two daughters, were among seven members of the Air National Guard who perished Thursday when their chopper went down after hitting a power line.

“It’s unbelievable that people who sacrifice for a living [also] volunteer to sacrifice for the military,” he said.


On Sunday, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation is set to announce a fundraiser for the Raguso family.

It offers financial assistance to the families of fallen first responders, as does the Silver Shield foundation.


Meanwhile, the names of two other local victims of the crash, both from Long Island, were released: Captain Andreas B. O’Keeffe, 37, of Center Moriches, and Sgt. Dashan J. Briggs, 30, of Port Jefferson Station.

Briggs, a star football player at Riverhead HS, was “a good son to me,’’ his grandfather, 81-year-old Eli Briggs, told the Riverhead News-Review.

“I didn’t treat him as a grandson because I raised him. He had his life put together . . . He was a real man,” he said. “I’m not saying that because he’s my grandson. He loved his family. He did everything he could to take care of them. That’s why he was in the Air [National] Guard.”


Dashan is survived by his wife, Rebecca, and two children, ages 1 and 2.

O’Keeffe was a civilian employee of the guard unit.

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