He fought hard for nine days, but on Sunday Saddle Brook Engine Co. #1 Lt. Shawn Sturdy died from injuries sustained in an ATV crash in Pennsylvania.
"Shawn was one of those people who lit up a room when he walked in," fellow 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."
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.
He was variously described as "a nice guy," "respectful," and one who "says hello to everyone at all the firehouses."
Sturdy was airlifted to Geisinger-Community Medical Center's trauma unit in Scranton after the June 8 crash. Prayers were shared and raised as he remained hospitalized.
"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."
"I met him when he just turned 10. All excited to play little league baseball for another season," wrote Manny Scarangella. "I had the honor to be his coach. He was the most coachable kid. Always wanting to learn more, play more, etc.... he was an absolute pleasure.
"This young boy came up to me and asked, 'can you teach me to pitch?' We met a few times without the team to learn. It was then that I knew he was going to be something special," he added. "He knew what he wanted and willing to put the time in to get it.
"Lisa Di Stefano Sturdy and Vincent Sturdy, you raised quite the man. Always a pleasure to see and talk with," Scarangella added. "I will remember him forever. He was one of the reasons why I loved to coach. Always hoping that I would have another Shawn on my team."
"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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