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Brotherhoods Salute Beloved Saddle Brook Firefighter Killed In ATV Crash

His mother called Shawn a "charismatic, loving, caring soul" who was "always happy, kind and giving." Photo Credit: COURTESY: Ray Abel / INSET: Facebook
The Emergency Services garage at the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee. Photo Credit: COURTESY: Ray Abel

Two separate brotherhoods displayed their respect, affection and grief as preparations continued for what is expected to be a massive funeral for Saddle Brook firefighter – and Port Authority tunnel and bridge agent – Shawn Sturdy.

Purple and black bunting was hung from the emergency garages at the George Washington and Goethels bridges, as well as at the Lincoln and Holland tunnels.

Meanwhile, a traffic sign outside the Saddle Brook main firehouse noted Sturdy’s passing.

The Engine Co. #1 lieutenant fought hard for nine days before succumbing Sunday to injuries sustained in an ATV crash in Pennsylvania on June 8.

His mother, Lisa Di Stefano Sturdy, posted a touching tribute on Facebook:

"Our 23-yr-old son, Shawn Anthony Sturdy, was such a charismatic, loving, caring soul, a firefighter since he was 16, always happy, kind and giving. Even in death he was able to donate his corneas, heart valves, tissue and skin to help others, ensuring his light will NEVER go out....

"We can't thank you ALL enough for the outpouring support," his mom added. "Rest in peace, my Angel."

******

ARRANGEMENTS: Visiting hours are from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Kugler Community Home For Funerals . The service will be held at the funeral home on Fifth Street ( 973-478-2500 ) at 10 a.m. Saturday, with cremation to follow at Cedar Lawn Cemetery in Paterson.

******

A pillar of the township community, Sturdy was equally popular at the Port Authority, where he worked as a tunnel and bridge agent.

"It absolutely breaks my heart to know that I'll never see that chuckle and smile again - from a friend, co-worker, fireman, and most importantly little brother," wrote township Battalion Chief Shant Ohannessian, who worked with Sturdy at the Port Authority.

Ohannessian established a GoFundMe page to help defray the family's expenses: Strong and Sturdy .

"The guys [at the Port Authority] never had a bad thing to say about you," former work colleague and fellow firefighter Ray Abel wrote in a Facebook tribute. "You were a hard worker and always professional in both places."

"Shawn was one of those people who lit up a room when he walked in," fellow Saddle Brook firefighter Doug Habermann said. "He always had a smile on his face and a pleasant greeting when you saw him. I can’t even explain how much he’ll be missed by us all. A true gentleman, friend, and brother."

"He was a young man filled with honor, loyalty and most of all respect," added Andrew Majkowicz, "and I hope what he leaves behind his peers will pick up and run with."

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