Funeral held for firefighter from LI who died from 9/11-related illness

Posted: Updated:
SEAFORD -

Hundreds of police officers and firefighters paid their final respects to a first responder from Massapequa who died from a 9/11-related cancer.

Port Authority Police Officer James Kennelly, 37, was carried into St. James Church in Seaford Thursday. The father and husband died on Saturday after contracting an illness related to work performed at Ground Zero. 

"It was basically in his DNA and in his blood to be a volunteer, no matter at what cost, and unfortunately he did pay the ultimate price," said Chaplain Ben Diventi. 

Even in illness, Kennelly was asked to be a grand marshal at the St. Patrick's Day Parade last March – walking with his fellow officers, his wife Tara and their 4-year old daughter Shannon. 

Kennelly, also a veteran Massapequa Volunteer Fire Department member, was immortalized in a bronze statue after saving the life of a child 15 years ago. It's a fixture of the Massapequa Firefighter's Memorial at the corner of Park Boulevard and Sunrise Highway in Massapequa Park. 

His burial took place privately at St. Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale. Officer Kennelly's family requested contributions to St. Jude's Cancer Hospital in his name instead of flowers.

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