On Thursday, Jan. 30, members of the Wantagh Fire Department, along with many veterans and community members, attended the funeral of Fred Haag, a Purple Heart recipient and decorated hero from the Vietnam War at St. Frances de Chantal R.C. Church.
Haag was born in 1947 and grew up in Brooklyn. He was drafted into the Army at the age of 19 and served from 1966 to 1968 in the 58th Infantry Regiment and the 197th Infantry Brigade. He was injured when he was shot in the arm. In addition to the Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medals, he received the National Defense Service Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Vietnam Service Medal and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. Like many who served in Vietnam, Haag rarely spoke about his service and time in Vietnam. According to family, he was kind, gentle and mainly kept to himself. Never marrying having children, Haag lived most of his life in Connecticut being stricken with cancer. He moved to a V.A. Nursing home on Long Island to be closer to what little family he had.
Haag died on Saturday, Jan. 25 at the age of 72 and is survived by his niece Tina Flaherty, her husband Jason and their daughter Alexa, and another niece Darlene Piritsch, her husband Robert and their children Allison and Christopher.
The family reached out to the community and the Wantagh Chamber of Commerce and invited anyone who would like to attend to pay their respects to Haag. The following members from the Wantagh FD attended with Ladder One, proudly displaying a large American Flag, to honor Mr. Haag and pay tribute for his service: first assistant chief Tom Bloomfield, Ex-Chief/Commissioner George Krant, Ex-Chief Jeff Lindgren, Captain Phil Schaaf, Lt. Steve Cohen, Ex-Capt Bill Van Leer, and firefighter Matt Porreca. Several members of the North Bellmore FD joined them. In addition, the Nassau County Police Department, Motorcycle Platoon and Mounted Unit turned out to pay their respects.
-Submitted by Kevin Regan