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FDNY, NYPD band together to promote 2011 Games

The FDNY put a hurting on the NYPD in Coney Island on Sunday afternoon. Brothers Bill and Joe Miccio of the fire department routed police officers George Matthews and Joe Nolan, 21-9, in a one-set exhibition beach volleyball game preceding the AVP Coney Island Open men’s final.

“We’d spank them indoors,” Nolan said with a laugh. “And you can tell them I said that.”

Nolan played indoor volleyball at Concordia and Ramapo College, while the 6-foot-5 Matthews was a star at LIU-Southampton. The Miccio brothers, from Brooklyn, excel on the sand. All four will play in their respective sports in 2011 when the World Police & Fire Games come to New York City to mark the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Center attack of Sept. 11, 2001.

The Games have been around since 1985 and every two years are held at a different city – they’re in Vancouver, British Columbia this year -- but have never been in New York. As many as 8,000 athletes, firefighters and police officers, including from the Port Authority and corrections department, from more than 70 countries compete against one another in 65 different sports. There’s track and field, basketball, volleyball, soccer and shooting events, just to name a few.

Bill Miccio, who is the vice president and chief operating officer of the 2011 Games, said it will be about remembrance and gratitude, for all the support give to New York City firefighters and cops after 9/11.

“On the greatest stage, we’re gonna have a chance to thank the world,” said Miccio, a lieutenant who is assigned to Ladder 49 in the Bronx.

Miccio put together the FDNY volleyball team in 1998 and it won the bronze medal in 2001. A few weeks later, two members of the team, Mike Carlo and Timmy Welty, were killed in the attacks. Miccio, who has been a firefighter for 22 years, went on vacation that very same day. He and his brother, as well as cousin, all of whom are firefighters, were off Sept. 11

“We came back like everybody else,” he said.

Noan, who works at One Police Plaza in the Incident, Notification and Response Unit, was a street cop in the south Bronx in 2001 and he responded to the World Trade Center that day.

“It’s hard to put it in words,” Nolan said. “It was so sad. If you saw the movie Titanic, after the boat sank, it was like all you saw was water again. It was a surreal moment. We were like, did it happen?”

Everyone involved expects the 2011 World Police & Fire Games to be an excellent way to honor those who lost their lives on Sept. 11. But Miccio and those helping to run the event can’t do it alone. It takes $12.4 million to run them, not to mention countless volunteers.

Companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield and Nathan’s has stepped up as sponsors. The New York City Sports Commission is doing everything in its power to help everything go smoothly. Yet more will be needed.

“When the bell goes off, we come running,” Miccio said. “We’re asking for a little help now – something we don’t normally do.”

To donate to the 2011 New York World Police & Games or to just find out more about them, visit www.2011wpfg.org.

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