On September 11, 2001 a special New Yorker by the name of Steven Hagis gave his life in the World Trade Center attacks. A Vice President of Government Bonds with Cantor Fitzgerald, he was in Tower 1 (north) floor 105.
At 6'9", it would be hard to miss Mr. Hagis (also known as "Steve" and "Stevie" amongst friends and family) yet his physical stature was nothing compared to the size of his heart. Stories of his courage and faithfulness flood the internet, from memories of his ministry with Gateway Cathedral where he taught 3 year old children to recollections of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing in which he arrived home late because he was assisting a man in a wheelchair out of the building.
He attended Fairfield College on full scholarship where he played basketball for the Stags from 1987-1991 (number 23). A knee injury took him out of the sport, so he focused on his education, graduating with a degree in finance and economics.
As I searched for information on Mr. Hagis, my heart was warmed by the love for him spread throughout the world wide web. Family and friends of several victims, including Mr. Hagis, attended a ceremony on September 11, 2004. His sister, Stacy, was among the family members wearing special shirts to honor her brother. "...Asked how her brother would react to the commemoration ceremonies, she said, smiling softly, "He would hate this -- having his name written in stone after stone, plastered everywhere. He wasn't a limelight person." She added, however, that she and her family had attended every remembrance ceremony because they feel it is the best way to honor his life. "We spend every day thinking of him, remembering him," she said...."
Stacy and Michael Hagis in the shirts remembering StevenRichard Avvento is a childhood neighbor of Mr. Hagis. As I read through his email I tried to pick out the "important parts" to share with readers of this blog entry. But they are all important! I ask you to devote some time to reading these words:
Hi Heather, i was sitting on my couch watching the 9/11 documentary filmed by the 2 French brothers doing a story on the Fire Department when I checked my email and saw your email. I think it's absolutely wonderful that you and so manyThere is so much more to Steven Hagis, more than I would be able to discover through simple internet searches. I will continue to add more information about his LIFE as I come across it. I can tell you this, Steven M Hagis knew the Lord Jesus Christ, he was a faithful man and a humble servant of the Lord. He gave time and time again in his life, whether it was cooking breakfast for the men's bible group, teaching scripture to young married couples, or attending retreats and opening their homes to young people. He loved the Lord, and loved doing the Lord's work. As his mother said, "I don't cry for Steven. He is in heaven. But I cry for our family, for the emptiness and brokenness in our hearts."
others are taking the time to honor those who perished on that awful morning.
My brother and I became very close to Stevie because we
lived a couple of doors down in Brooklyn, NY. Stevie was always a big, gentile giant. Although I was 3 years older than him he was probably the same size as me or taller. The memories I have of Stevie was that of his beautiful family and
the fun we used to have doing what kids do.
We played for hours upon hours, matchbox cars, toy soldiers, Star Wars action figures, etc. Mostly in his bedroom where all his toys were. My brother and Stevie, who were a year apart, my brother his senior, would argue all the time and I always
remembered it was because my brother, until this day, loves to break chops. I mean he would tease to no end.
Going in the pool and going to his Grandma's house on East 49th street for their annual block party was also some
great memories. We would stay out until late in the eveing and that was always a treat. Unfortunately as we got older, Stevie moved away to Staten Island and although my Mom would keep in touch with his Mom, we grew apart.
I actually found out in November 2001, when I was at a
wedding for the daughter of the woman who bought the Hagis' house about Stevie's death. I was floored. Now 5 years later it still feels like that dreadful as if it were yesterday.
I know that Stevie's legacy will always live on. I also know that with a family like his, great people, people who have always
been so good and kind-hearted for as long as I know them will keep his memory alive. Thanks for your time and I'm sure his parents friends and family would also thank you for the beautiful things you and so many others are doing.
Mrs MaryJane and Mr Steven Hagis - I wanted to send you a special message. I know what it feels like to lose a child - I know how hard it is on every anniversary date, especially when the birthday is so close. My heart is with you and I hope that you remember that Steven will NEVER be forgotten! He not only touched lives while he was here, but the memories people have of him are shared, and touching more lives every day. I didn't have the honor of knowing Steven in this life, I wish I had. But I know that his light continues to shine on earth through those whose lives he touched. People have been brought to Christ through Steven, even members of his own family. His cousin Nicole writes:
Hi, my name is Nicole Hitchcock. Steven Hagis was my cousin. He was an amazing man. A devoted husband to his wife Gloria, beloved father to his children Jaclyn and Daniel, Hero to his siblings Christopher and Stacy and blessing to his parents Maryjane and Steve Hagis. I will always remember the fourth of July, it was one of Steven's favorite days. We would have a BBQ at his mom's house every year and spend the day in the pool with family and friends. Because of Steven, I am now a devoted Christian. He showed me that turning to Christ is the way to live my life and that is something I try to pass on to others. If there is anything specific you would like to know please let me know. I hope I was able to help you understand more about Steven and what a wonderful man he was.
Steven M Hagis was 31 when he died and he left behind not only a wife, Gloria, but two beautiful children, Jacyln and Daniel. He is also survived by his mother MaryJane, his father Steven, brother Christopher, and sister Stacy. His Grandfather joined him in heaven on June 19, 2004.
Links of Interest
A letter to Steve on his 33rd Birthday
Rebuilding NYC - A Street Named after Steven
Guestbook for Steven Hagis
Steven Hagis Memorial Website (Under Construction)
Special Thanks to Nicole and Richard for sharing their personal thoughts with me - my prayers are with you today, as with all of the family and friends of Steven.