|Lt. Gordon "Matt" Ambelas|
Lt. Gordon "Matt" Ambelas was a New York City firefighter who lived in my Staten Island neighborhood. While I didn't know him personally, my friend Margaret did. In fact, she introduced him to his wife, Nanette. Margaret's husband is also a firefighter, and knew Matt from work. Margaret knew Nanette at the hospital the two women both worked at -- Margaret as a nurse, and Nanette as an ultrasound technician. Anyhow, Margaret played matchmaker, and Matt and Nanette fell in love, got married, and had two daughters.
Sadly, Lt. Ambelas died in the line of duty on July 5, 2014 when searching for victims in a Coney Island apartment fire. (The apartment was inhabited by a hoarder who wasn't at home at the time, and apparently the place was piled so high with junk that it was hard to see if anyone was in there.)
Lt. Ambelas was a real hero. He worked at Ground Zero after 9/11, and he had also participated in multiple rescues over the years. In fact, he had recently been honored for saving a young boy's life who was trapped in a metal gate.
He was also a family man who cherished his wife and children. And in his spare time, he was a big Yankees and Jets fan.
In honor of Lt. Ambelas' life, Margaret has organized Matt's Race, a 5K in honor of his life. The race is happening this Sunday, April 19 at 10 a.m. in Clove Lakes Park on Staten Island.
The Staten Island Athletic Club -- the running club Margaret and I belong to -- is co-sponsoring the event, along with the FDNY's Engine 161/Ladder 81 and Engine 211/Ladder 119. The pre-entry race fee is $20. It is $25 if you pay on the day of the race. And the money raised from Matt's Race will go to help the FDNY Widows and Children Fund. Also, there will be awards given to runners in a variety of age categories. Click here for a race application.
Anyhow, I don't know how many of our readers are runners, but it would be great if some fellow Yankee fans could run the race Sunday in honor of our fellow Yankee fan. If you can't run, walk the race! Also, I would appreciate it if you could please share this post with your friends, to let them know about the race.