One of America’s bravest will not be forgotten.
Christopher Slutman, the Bronx-based, 15-year FDNY member and U.S.Marine Corps Staff Sergeant killed by a Taliban roadside bomb near in Afghanistan was returned to the borough for a wake at Lucchese Funeral Home in Morris Park on Thursday, April 25.
Prior to that, Slutman’s remains were first returned to his family at Dover Air Force Delaware, the state where he had lived while serving in the FDNY.
A massive procession of firefighters and military took over I-95 from Delaware to the Bronx on Monday, April 22 when he was brought to funeral home before being laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery on Tuesday, April 30.
Just about every overpass in the three-state procession was crowded with firefighters from local firehouses waving American flags, along with civilians, honoring the 43-year old Slutman for his ultimate sacrifice.
Before being deployed with the Marines, Slutman was stationed out of Claremont’s Ladder 27. His ladder company is nicknamed ‘The Bronx Express’ because it sits just beneath the Cross Bronx Expressway near Park Avenue.
Since Slutman was a child in Delaware, he had dreamed of being a firefighter, following in the footsteps and boots of his own father, Fletcher.
Christopher was the father of three girls that he raised with his wife Shannon.
One of Slutman’s most notable acts of heroism came in the very early hours of Tuesday, July 23, 2013 when he successfully rescued a woman who was trapped inside her bedroom in a 7th floor unit at 320 Morris Avenue in Mott Haven.
“Something is burning on the seventh floor,” was the only heads up he received prior to valiantly crawling beneath thick black smoke and flames to make the incredible rescue.
Slutman was joined by Mayor de Blasio when was awarded the Fire Chiefs Association Memorial Medal the following year on behalf of his bravery for the daring Mott Haven rescue.
When de Blasio attended the evening session of Slutman’s wake, the mayor spoke with Shannon, telling her what a hero her husband truly was for not only the city but country as well.
The elevated section of the Bruckner Expressway was shut down the following morning for Slutman’s funeral procession into Manhattan. NYPD motorcycles rolled through the empty highway one by one, preceding the mass of FDNY and Port Authority vehicles and trucks that had all made the journey with Slutman’s remains.
A week prior to that, Slutman’s colleague Lieutenant Jack Meara reflected on what it was like to be around Slutman during an operation.
“He was the type of fireman everyone wanted to have in their firehouse,” Meara said. “Chris always did the right thing, Chris always stepped up to the plate, Chris was always there when you needed him.”
It was on that same day that The Stephen Siller Tunnel To Towers Foundation pledged to raise funds to pay off the Slutman family’s home mortgage.
In that same amount of time, the FDNY also established a scholarship fund for Slutman’s three daughters.