Students honor teacher, celebrate brother's life - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Students honor teacher, celebrate brother's life

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September 11, 2002

Albany-- An Albany teacher, surrounded by students, friends and family, remembers her brother, killed in the attacks at the World Trade Center. Connie Finnicum, a first grade teacher at Deerfield-Windsor, says this "second family" has stood by her side during the most difficult year of her life. Wednesday, that family celebrated her brother's life.

Connie Finnicum embraced her granddaughter, Savannah, as her students sang for her and her younger brother, Richard Gabrielle. Finnicum says, "I actually dreaded this day, but when I woke up this morning I realized that everyday since this dreaded act happened I had sadness in my heart."

Richard Gabrielle was fifty years old, a husband and father, when he was killed while at work on the 103rd floor of Tower Two at the World Trade Center. Connie says her brother was a talented writer, a poet, who loved golf, his car, and more than anything, his family. Finnicum says, "I'm making it the way I make it everyday which is I try to do the best I can and honor his name, he was a kind and wonderful man and I try to do that with other people, treat people the way he did."

As people wiped away tears, Finnicum's two grandchildren placed a marker bearing her brother's name next to a river birch tree. Finnicum says the one year anniversary is much like everyday since September 11, 2001, "It's just another day to miss my brother so much."

Connie Finnicum calls the students and staff at Deerfield Windsor her "support family" and says they have been wonderful to her over the last year.

Posted at 3:32 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com