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Tarrytown Man Runs to Put Out Fires

Jay Duggen came to volunteer firefighting in an unusual manner. The Tarrytown native became a firefighter because he wanted to play pool.

The 35-year veteran of the Tarrytown Fire Department described how his brother brought him to the station when he was 16.

“He brought me here once to play pool, and I fell in love with playing pool and that’s why I joined,” he said. “Been here since.”

Duggen was one of the many volunteer firefighters who marched in Monday’s Memorial Day Parade. He said he’s always tried to make it to the parade. Recently, the parade’s taken on new meaning for him since his son is now in the Marine Reserves.

“Memorial Day does mean a lot more now that he’s in the Marine Reserves,” Duggen said. “He has not gone overseas yet, but he’s supposed to be going soon. Right now he’s just going for once a month training, but yeah it does make me look at Memorial Day a little different now that I have a son in the marines.”

Duggen also has two other kids, a son and daughter, as well as one grandchild. He’s been a resident of Tarrytown for all his life.

“I got married and had three kids here,” he said. “I’ve been divorced about 14 years, but my kids have been in this town, so ever since then, since I got divorced, I’ve stayed here. And my kids are all grown now, and you know what? I’m still here.”

When he’s not fighting fires, Duggen works for ConEdison. He’s also a runner.

“I like to run,” he said. “I run races and I try to stay fit. I play all sports, but running is mainly what keeps me going right now.”

Duggen said he runs four or five days a week. He’s run in the New York City Marathon twice and once in the Lenox Marathon , although he said he prefers 5K races. This January, he’ll run the Houston Half-Marathon.

“[I] Try to stay as fit as I can for my age,” he said. “I’m still doing very well for my age.”

The native Tarrytowner said a lot has changed in the 50 years he’s been here, “but it’s still my place.”

“I’m just so familiar here, know so many people, went to school here, so I can’t walk down the street without someone knowing me,” he said.

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