In our sports-obsessed culture, far too often the term hero gets tossed around a bit casually. Not only should it be restricted to the likes of service members and civil service workers who put their lives on the line everyday, but definitely for the late G. Michael Godfrey, the former chief of the South Floral Park Fire Department. A volunteer firefighter for 35 years, he spent seven of them as the chief of the department.
The Baltimore native was 78 when he passed away from heart disease recently but by all accounts, he led the kind of life that demanded respect given his accomplishments. Godfrey kicked down a lot of doors for black firefighters on Long Island by ascending to positions of authority in a number of associations including the Fireman’s Association of the State of New York Board of Directors. He also spent time as president of the Nassau County Association of Fire Chiefs and the Nassau County Firemen’s Association in addition to being chairman of the Nassau County Fire Commission. All this as well as working a 20-year career at Con Edison, being father to daughters Mary, Michele and Deborah as well as spouse to Barbara of South Floral Park. Chief Godfrey was the kind of man you should envision the next time you want to call someone who plays a child’s game a hero.