PO Glen Pettit
|The still and moving images that Glen Pettit captured on film were often grim: brush fires raging on eastern Long Island, hunks of metal that once made up TWA Flight 800 being extracted from the Atlantic Ocean, police officers and firefighters scrambling at a crime scene in New York City.|
“His passion was photography and videography,” said his older sister Dierdre Kroupa, of Islip Terrace.
Pettit was last seen on Sept. 11 near Tower Two, snagging scenes of the terrorist attacks for future training films and searching for an operations command center, Kroupa said. Capt. Sean Crowley and Officer Edward Aswad of the New York Police Department, who saw Pettit after the terrorist attacks began, told Kroupa that her brother “wasn’t fearful and was calm.” Pettit’s body was recovered near the rubble of the south tower on Dec. 15.
After earning his bachelor’s degree in communications from the New York Technical Institute’s Main Campus in Old Westbury in 1995, Pettit joined News 12 as a videographer, his sister said. Two years later, the Oakdale resident was offered a job with the NYPD videotaping rescue efforts at crime scenes for new recruits to watch.
“He loved being behind the camera, and he loved to be a police officer,” Pettit’s younger brother, Neil Pettit, said.
Born in Ronkonkoma in 1971, Pettit graduated from Connetquot High School in Bohemia in 1990. He attended BOCES Technical Center in Riverhead, where he first developed an appreciation and a knack for photography, Kroupa said. Pettit had been a freelance photographer for Newsday and The New York Times after high school, but public service always came first.
He joined the Lakeland Volunteer Fire Department when he was 16 and gave his time to them until 1995, when he joined the West Sayville Volunteer Fire Department. “He was always taking pictures of different fires along Long Island,” his brother said. “He always had a camera on him.”
Nicknamed “The Hurricane” by his father, Thomas Wixted of Ronkonkoma, Glen Pettit was known for “always blowing in and out of a room at the speed of light,” Kroupa said, remembering her younger brother knocking over picture frames as he swooshed through their parents’ Ronkonkoma home.
A prankster through and through, the 30-year-old videographer with the Technical Assistance Response Unit of the NYPD “loved to bust chops,” Kroupa said. Seemingly admiring the decor of friends’ homes whenever he visited them, Pettit would sometimes turn all their hanging pictures upside down before he left. “First it made you crazy, then it made you smile,” she said.
Kroupa said her younger brother “did things quietly for people,” remembering packages of White Castle hamburgers, bagels and Skippy peanut butter that he packaged and sent to a friend in Hong Kong. “He went out of his way for people but never looked for thanks.”
The weekend before the terrorist attacks, Pettit attended an engagement party for his brother, who had asked him to be his best man, Kroupa said.
For the past three years, Pettit and his younger brother walked side-by- side in their dress blues in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The event was “always a big deal,” Neil Pettit said. A proud Irishman, and a member of the Emerald Society, Glen Pettit relished walking in the parade. “It was our heritage,” said Neil Pettit, of St. James.
Kroupa said she remembers her brother’s “brilliant, blue eyes that looked right through you,” and the way he cocked his head back whenever he laughed his hearty laugh.
“He loved being a part of the action,” Kroupa said. “And he loved what he did.”
In addition to his father, sister and brother, Glen Pettit is survived by his mother, Jane Wixted; his older sister Tara Felice; and older brothers Thomas Wixted and Joseph Wixted, all of Ronkonkoma.
|– New York Newsday Victim Database 3/13/2002|
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