Gaffney named Hometown Hero in E. Rockaway


Theresa Gaffney’s community involvement received recognition from the East Rockaway Board of Education as they honored her as Hometown Hero.

Gaffney is a mom, community activist, and tireless public servant who has dedicated her life to enhancing the lives of others. She currently is an EMT with the East Rockaway Fire Department, as well as Secretary of Grant Avenue Hose Co. #1 and as the Village Clerk/Treasurer of the Incorporated Village. Gaffney is also a member of the Ladies Auxiliary of American Legion Post 958, Ladies Auxiliary for the Knights of Columbus, East Rockaway Kiwanis Club, and Director of the Kiwanis Pediatric Trauma Center Foundation.

In the past, Gaffney has served as Deputy Mayor of the Village of East Rockaway, president of the Village Foundation of East Rockaway, and president of the East Rockaway Library Board.

“I was honored,” Gaffney said when asked what her reaction was to receiving this award. “I thought it was very sweet.”

Gaffney explained that she was honored at the board meeting because in the past, she has helped raise money for local families in need. She also hosts the Life Skills and Achievement class and facilitates visits to Village Hall and the local Senior Center. This is her second year hosting that program.

“This is the special needs program that they have in the high school where they come to Village Hall one day a week and they learn about what it’s like to work in an office,” Gaffney said.

Notably, Gaffney is a survivor of the 9/11 attacks and is responsible for the community’s 9/11 Memorial “Gateway to American Heroes” at Memorial Park. In her work as past President of the East Rockaway Village Foundation, she helped procure the steel girders from the rubble of the World Trade Center that stand tall at the entrance to the community’s 9/11 tribute to the fallen heroes.

Gaffney explained that she was on the 84th floor of tower two when the first plane hit. She ran down the stairs and at level 40, the second plane hit her building. She noted that 61 people who she was with going down the stairs lost their lives.

“I went to the memorial ceremony and I wanted to get involved,” Gaffney said. “And I did.”

She said that there’s a reason why she is alive today, which is to make people’s lives a little bit easier. Being involved in many organizations, Gaffney said that she does what she can, when she can.

“I can’t make it to every organization, I can’t go to every fundraiser, but when I can, I do,” Gaffney said.

Looking ahead towards the future, Gaffney noted that she will continue to support different organizations in any way she can.