Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Sergeant Rodney C. Gillis

New York City Police Department, New York

End of Watch Tuesday, September 11, 2001

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Reflections for Sergeant Rodney C. Gillis

On the anniversary of 9/11, I thank you and your comrades for your selfless duty and courage that momentous day. Your sacrifice and those of the victims and other first responders will forever be honored in the annals of brave men and women who gave their all for their city, state and for the United States of America. A hero in every sense of the word. Thanks for serving in the elite ESU.

James Lopey, Assistant Sheriff (Ret)
Washoe County Sheriff's Office (Reno, Nevada)
Nevada DPS

September 11, 2023

Sarge i can still remember you using all the copy paper as you studied for the Sgt exam. It's like it was yesterday you always had a smile on and told me to study hard and I too could be a SGT someday. Thanks

Sgt James Hudak
NYPD 71 PCT Retired

September 11, 2023

Remembering your sacrifice on this unforgettable day.

T. Francis

September 11, 2022

I never knew you but I lost my father also, John Kevin McAvoy. This year on the 20th Anniversary I did a stair climb in his honor and received a card to carry with your name and picture. It is now hanging in my office. I wanted to get to know you more and I hope you family is safe and healing.

Kate McAvoy -Civilian
Registered Nurse

September 14, 2021

Sgt. Gillis,
On today, the 20th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of New York City and our Country as well. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.


United States Border Patrol

September 11, 2021

Good guy.. esu when needed.. his mom was in the confines of the 73 pct.. we all took care of family for years. You are missed!

Detective Howie

October 2, 2020

I cannot say enough or offer enough tears or emotions for the numerous, numerous amazing men and women who gave so selflessly and heroically that day and for still many, the numerous days that followed over the numerous years to come. On this 19th anniversary of one of the deadliest days for American law enforcement I'd like to say to you all thank you, God Bless you and rest in peace always knowing that your service and sacrifice will never, ever be forgotten by your law enforcement brethren.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police (Retired)

September 11, 2020

One of the many, many amazing men and women who gave so selflessly and heroically that day and the many days that followed. Rest in peace always knowing that your service and sacrifice will never, ever be forgotten by your law enforcement brethren.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police (Retired)

August 26, 2020

Rodney, I hope you have found peace. You were an inspiration to me in my rookie year. You treated us as equals as green as we were in the 77 pct. You always took the time to share your street knowledge to help us smarten up and be better cops. You always put front a strong professionalism and an infectious smile even when personally you were struggling. I’m a better person for having crossed your path. Thank you.

PO Gregory Thornton

September 12, 2019

Thank you for your bravery you helped save many lives and I am grateful that you helped serve you city for 13 years and you will go down in history as a hero and someone who was willing to put his own life on the line to serve others. Thank you!

Jordan Bohn
Milton Hershey School Student

March 18, 2018

Poem to Remember the Fallen Heroes of 9/11

"A Lonely Lighthouse Am I"

A lonely lighthouse am I,
but although I'm lonely,
Worrying doesn't pay,
For I'm in charge of keeping ships safe,
From crashing onto my rocky shore.

A Lonely lighthouse am I,
But I have to keep my light burning bright,
For the ships need me,
otherwise they will die on the rocks,
in the stormy night.

A lonely lighthouse am I,
But I keep my nightly watch,
upon the deadly waves,
for those ships who brave the storm,
who will need a lighthouse till the morn.

Thank you for becoming true heroes in helping the fallen to safety.

Trina M Showalter
Brigham Young University Student

July 27, 2017

Prayed for your family this morning in church.
You are not forgotten.
Chaplain Jim Stout, USBP
Tucson, Az

SPA Chaplain
USBP, Tucson, AZ

September 12, 2016

May your family assuage the pain in the lost of a true hero. Watch over them, and also watch over us too. Rest in Peace my brother.

N.Y.PD. Lt.(Ret.) Ray Flores

September 11, 2016

Sgt. Gillis, I carry your memory as an example of a caring professional member of the NYPD Emergency Service Unit. As a Sr. Parole Officer I was a member of the Joint NYPD, NYS Parole/ Targeted Offender Program (TOPs Unit). There were numerous times that your team lead our Execution of Search Warrants. On the day of the attack I monitored the ESU Radio Traffic and recognized you making a request for a helicopter to transport you & your team to the roof of the tower so you could attempt to rappel down to those trapped by the fire. Your bravery & sacrifice will always be remembered.

Chief James Contino (Retired)
NYS Parole, Special Offender Bureau

September 11, 2015

Dear Rodney
It's been 14yr's honey, you are a grandfather
Your babies had babies. I miss you and I know I will never stop missing you. Steven and I have four grandchildren, you have so many wonderful people that have such love and respect for you. Myself and other's miss your laughter your unique humor. Your passion for the job. And how you cared about people.
Love you for ever partner.

Detective Madeline Lawrence RET.

September 6, 2015

Rip to Sgt. Rodney Gillis may your legacy live on you will be forever loved and respected..... I remember seeing you in Brooklyn when I was a kid I thought it was so cool to see a young officer it was cool it gave us hope. I was devasted when I saw your face on tv as a victim of the 911 attacks. I became an officer in 2006. Thank you for always encouraging us youngins to stay on the right track. Love you ❤❤❤ forever #nypd

Po Connie Duncan

September 2, 2015

On the 13th Anniversary of 9/11, I participated in the Patriot 5K (Corpus Christi, Texas) in remembrance of the first responders. I was honoured to wear the name of NYPD Sergeant Rodney Gillis (Badge No.1889) on my running bib and I will continue to honour his memory, keeping his family in my prayers.

Elizabeth Duhan

September 12, 2014

Today, I had the honor of reading Sergeant Rodney Gillis' name during the 9/11 memorial on the top deck of "USS Midway Aircraft Carrier" in San Diego. Thank you for all of your selfless service to us. You will never be forgotten! September 11, 2014

Konrad Sheehan

September 12, 2014

Haven't forgotten you big guy. May you rest from your labors

US Border Patrol

September 11, 2013

He was a great guy, and a great cop.

Retired Sergeant John Sandusky
Worked together in 79 Precinct

December 11, 2012

You as always are remembered

Civilian, Manchester, NH

September 11, 2012

Rodney I Had the pleasure to work with you in the 79 pct back in 1989-91 and knew how hard working of a cop you were and how much you loved the job. You then studied and became Sgt Gillis and then Sgt Rodney Gillis of ESU Truck #8 , But then Lost a good friend and brother to a cowardly act that WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN By any of our brothers throughout the world , I just want to say God Bless You And Your Family and Thanks for being a Friend AND A BROTHER to all of us.. You Will Be Deeply Missed BUT NEVER FORGOTTEN ! !

Retired New York City Police
Police Officer Gustavo A Garcia

February 10, 2012

I did not have the pleasure to know Rodney. But I had the distinct honor to wear an armband with his name on it in a ceremony in Long Island on 9/11/11. It took place in the Long Island beach community of Long Beach where I have some friends who live and surf there. The town and the adjacent towns have a heavy concentration of firemen and policemen. A significant number of these public servants were first responders on 9/11.

So last Sunday, I was honored to be one of 343 local surfers who paddled out to sea and gathered beyond the waves to lay a memorial wreath - each one of us wore an armband with the name of one of the fallen – I represented Sergeant Gillis. The event began with a ceremonial mass on the beach to honor the victims and their families. The surfers then formed a long line to salute the victims’ families and many uniformed police, firefighters and military as they passed by. Then we paddled out, formed a circle to lay the wreath, heard some inspirational words, and held hands and chanted USA, USA…

I have attached a brief YouTube video so that Rodney's falimy and friends could see how he and his many brothers ansd sisters were honored. (An international surfing competition had just taken place there at Long Beach, which is why this video clip was produced by Quiksilver.)

My thoughts and prayers go out to Rodney's family and friends. He was a hero.

God Bless - David Brazda

David Brazda
civilian admirer

September 16, 2011

I was a new ESU officer-when I met sgt Rodney gillis. I was highly motivate, a marine bigger than life living amongst ESU legends. Rodney was more than a legend, he was everything I needed to model my ESU self after. sgt. Rodney gillis was me. Our time together was brief but his impact on me profound. I cried at his home, ten years later I still cry, for our country, our city, Rodney and all the E men, officers and first responders lost that dark day.

Detective Gregory a Anderson ESU
Newyork police department

September 11, 2011

Rodney and I grew up in the same neighborhood. He attended and played football at James Madison HS in Bklyn, NY. While I attended and was a cheerleader at the rival school Sheepshead Bay HS. Our young adult lives were filled with bragging on which team was better! If we lost a game I'd dread seeing him because it meant listening to him brag for a whole school year!! Later he joined the NYPD and I followed shortly after. I thank God for the laughs and taunts that we shared. Gone but Never Forgotten, thank you for your sacrifice Rodney. R.I.P.

Retired P.O. Toni Miller

September 9, 2011

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