Remembering 'Chappy'

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After graduating from Valley Stream North High School, Boehm attended Binghamton University, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in literature in 1974. Gregarious and athletic, he was constantly active, whether it was socializing, going to the beach, biking or running. “He had a wonderful zest for life,” Irene said. “He loved to run, and he loved competition. After 9/11, people would comment on missing him running through the streets.”

Boehm had run 10 New York City marathons, numerous other races, and participated in several triathlons before he died. Only days before 9/11, he competed in the Town of Hempstead triathlon at Lido Beach.

In the decade since 9/11, the Boehm family has been through many changes. "There is no such thing as closure,” Irene said. “Coping with the loss of my husband and the girls’ dad is an ongoing daily process. We don’t cry as much anymore.”

After 9/11, Irene and her daughters attended a support group, where they met four other women who were also suffering from the loss of a loved one, and who continue to offer the family support. “They really are my best friends,” Irene said. “We see each other at least once a month; we go on vacations together. They are the only people who really understand how I feel.”

Every year, on the anniversary of 9/11, the Boehms attend the memorial ceremonies in Point Lookout and Jones Beach — where Boehm’s name is listed on a 9/11 monument. “The 9/11 anniversary is really for other people,” Irene added. “I live 9/11 every day of my life.”

Brittany and Stacey, who were 16 and 13 at the time of their father’s death, have both worked as lifeguards since they were 17. Irene works in the Elmont Union Free School District Superintendent’s Office, and volunteers twice a month at the World Trade Center Tribute Center. “It is painful, but therapeutic,” she said. “I don’t ever want people to forget that horrible day.”

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