The son of an FDNY firefighter killed in Iraq was sworn in as a probationary firefighter Tuesday — one of a special six-member graduating class that refused to give up on their dreams of joining New York’s Bravest.
Royce Engeldrum, the son of Firefighter Christian Engeldrum, was injured while training with another academy crop. But, instead of quitting, he healed and continued to train as part of a new probationary class that will soon be assigned to fire stations throughout the five boroughs.
“You all get the perseverance award,” Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro told the small group during a brief graduation ceremony at the FDNY Academy. Family and friends weren’t allowed to attend because of COVID-19 regulations. “Some of you started as far back as December 2018. But you stuck with it. You had a dream and today that dream comes to fruition.
“No one has been in probie school longer than you have,” Nigro said. “It’s an accomplishment. It’s very hard to keep your focus for that long of a period of time and say, ‘I’m going to get through this. I’m going to do it. I’m going to be a New York City firefighter. And now you are.”
Firefighter Christian Engeldrum, a former cop and five and a half year veteran, was killed on Nov. 29, 2004 when a roadside bomb exploded near his Army National Guard convoy outside Baghdad. Before going overseas, Engeldrum served in Ladder 61 in the Bronx.
Engeldrum was an active member of the U.S. Army from 1986 to 1991 and served in Operation Desert Storm. He was a firefighter on 9/11 and responded to Ground Zero after the terror attacks.
Another New York City firefighter, Daniel Swift, of Ladder Company 43 in Manhattan, was riding in the same vehicle and was injured in the attack.
Engeldrum’s son Royce said joining the FDNY “seemed natural.”
“My dad was an FDNY Firefighter and he was my hero growing up. He loved this job and I always saw how happy he was,” Engeldrum said on Instagram Tuesday. “If I could be half the Firefighter my father was I’ll be happy with that. I know he would be proud of me.”
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