Family members and members of the Cutchogue Fire Department gathered Thursday evening to honor the memories of department members Jason Cooper and Andrew McCaffery, both of whom died last year. Mr. Cooper was 47, and Mr. McCaffery was 41.
Members of Girl Scout Troop 1474 constructed four memorial benches and two end tables in memory of the men. The benches, which include plaques in honor of the two men, will stay at the department. One of the presenters was Cassie Stevens, Mr. McCaffery’s niece.
Cassie and Maya Hamilton did the project as part of their Silver Award for the Girl Scouts. In a brief, emotional speech, Cassie said: “… we realized that we wanted to honor those in our community who have been role models to us. In particular, we wanted to honor Mr. Jason Cooper and my uncle, Drew McCaffery, for all the amazing contributions they made to our local community prior to their early deaths.”
Standing by a horseshoe pit named in honor of the two firefighters, Maya said: “We wanted to help improve the area and give something that would be of comfort to our firematic community. So we researched and planned for benches with plaques to honor both men. We thought it would be a nice way for the members of Cutchogue and other fire departments who visit to enjoy each other’s company, think about old times, and start making new memories.”
Photo caption: Family and friends of Jason Cooper and Drew McCaffery pose in front of the new benches outside the Cutchogue Fire Department Thursday night. (Credit: Steve Wick)