CRIPPLED NEW YORK FIREMAN MADE HAPPY BY FRIENDS
“Firemen’s Fund” Helps Fare For “Smiling Jimmy” Branigan Paralyzed in Performance of Duty—Gets—Check Also from Neustadt Fund.
NEWPORT, R. I., at the home of his relative is Fireman James P. Branigan of New York, a member of H. & L. Co. 10 m Fulton street. He is propped in bed, his spine encased in a steel vest, a victim of paralysis from his waist down.
In spite of this terrible handicap at the comparatively youthful age of 29, he is nonetheless a cheertul chap, with a smile that radates happiness and he has an abundance of pale auburn hair which sort of relieves the sombreness of the clothes he wears out of respect to the memory of his father.
Jimmy Branigan is but one of several young men in this country who successfully braved the shell fire oi the enemy “over there” and came through unscathed only to meet with disaster in the battle against the enemy—Fire.
Two years after Jimmy was honorably discharged from the 111th Aero Squadron, he became a fireman. When only two years in the service, he fell on May 20, 1924 when the burned roof of an old pier at the Battery collapsed. He struck on his spine, fracturing two vertebra and lacerating the spinal cord. For eleven months he was a patient in Bellevue Hospital. while there, he had a special nurse, engaged by the firemen’s Emergency Fund and paid out of that fund. When the prognosis of his case indicated prolonged treatment, the city nurse in his ward resigned her municipal job and entered the private employ of the Firemen’s Fund.
She is Miss Gertrude Burns and is still with her patient at Newport. When Branigan was ready for removal in the fire department ambulance to the steamboat for Newport, Dr. Harry M. Archer, Honorary Medical Officer of the N. Y. F. D., made a tour of several engine houses in the ambulance with him.
Comrades on duty gathered about the big bus in the street to say ‘good-bye’ to one of the most popular men in blue in the big city of New York. The last stop was at Branigan’s own company, 10 Truck, where Fire Commissioner Drennan, Chief Kenlon, a score of buffs, a couple of chaplains, a hundred odd officers and firemen, all gathered to cheer Jimmy on his trip to Newport.
Honorary Deputy Chief Mainzer, on behalf of the Neustadt Fund, which is similar in its purposes to the Firemen’s Emergency Fund, only that it is much longer in existence than the latter, gave Branigan an envelope containing $250. The letter was signed by Mr. Mainzer. Honorary Battalion Chief Manfred L. Neumoegen and M. L. Blumenthal.
Branigan is regarded by medical men as beyond recovery,
Courtesy of the New York Graphics
hence the trip to Newport, where he will probably spend the rest of his days. Under the law of the city of New York, he cannot be forced into retirement, having been incapacitated in the line of duty. He is quite confident, however, that he is going to get well. He is buoyant with optimism, as indicated by his quick remark when he opened the envelope containing $250. He said, “This is fine, I’ll buy an electric battery with this and see if I can get rid of this paralysis.”