Ask 9/11 first responders who they went with to the World Trade Center, Shanksville, and Pentagon. Ask them who they worked with while there. Many saw co-workers from previous station houses or from bloody crimes scenes, horrific accidents, and raging fires. They are all seared into memory. Some hugged fellow first responders who were also family members or best friends, and saw them for the last time on this earth.
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There is no need for someone to pad their resume with a phony 9/11 story. That day serves as a stark reminder that those who wear the mantle of ‘first responder’ have a tough, often dangerous job. Rightfully, most are seen as everyday heroes.
Yet there are a few who fail to live up to their oaths either by abusing their authority, corruption, negligence, or a lack of integrity. They bring discredit upon themselves, and cause the public to wonder about the fidelity of those they serve with. They need sunlight.
WFAA-TV in Dallas, Texas has shed some on Chris Suprun. He put himself into public view by vowing as an elector for Texas to not vote for Donald Trump on December 19, 2016, and asking fellow Electoral College members to do the same. And he obviously hoped to add weight to his argument in an op-ed in the New York Times with this passage:
“Fifteen years ago, as a firefighter, I was part of the response to the Sept. 11 attacks against our nation. That attack and this year’s election may seem unrelated, but for me the relationship becomes clearer every day.”
At least one unidentified (identity protected) witness said Suprun told him and others two different versions of his 9/11 heroics:
“He claimed to be a first responder with the Manassas Park Fire Department on September 11, 2001, and personally told us stories: “Well, I was fighting fire that day at the Pentagon. No, I was on a medical unit that day at the Pentagon.””
Chris Suprun claims he never said he responded as a member of the Manassas Park FD and their Fire Chief says Suprun did not begin working there until October 10, 2001. However, while he now says he responded to the Pentagon as a member of the Dale City Volunteer Fire Department, Suprun’s LinkedIn resume says he was with Manassas from September 2001 to April 2004 and never mentions Dale City:
Perhaps Suprun’s most detailed 9/11 first responder story was told to Philadelphia Inquirer columnist (now editor) Daniel Rubin in 2012:
“Suprun’s own 9/11 story began with a decision that runs counter to everything he has taught in disaster management classes – he dispatched himself. He was 27, a volunteer paramedic at the Dale City fire company in Northern Virginia, and he was teaching emergency medical response at George Washington University. When his beeper sounded after the first jet struck in Manhattan, he drove with a buddy to the fire station, where he always kept a fresh uniform. As they dressed, preparing to drive to New York, they watched a TV report from the Pentagon, where a third jet had just smashed into the 30-acre building. They roared up I-395 toward the thick, black smoke, which they could see from five miles away. “It’s not like the movies,” he said. “People weren’t screaming. But you could smell burning Jet A [fuel], burning paper, burning material. …” He and his partner were put to immediate use. In a parking lot, they administered basic first aid until 6 that night, then were deployed to a recreation center, where they treated the first responders for six hours more.”
Surely Chris Suprun remembers who he raced up I-395 with and the names of first responders he assisted at the recreation center or while doing first aid.
Until he provides them and they confirm it, there is no reason for anyone to believe his 9/11 first responder stories.
Integrity matters. Stolen valor matters.