John Chipura. Eng 219 STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Firefighter John G. Chipura had firsthand knowledge of terrorism’s bloody horror before being caught in the chaos of Sept. 11. A corporal in the Marines from 1980 to 1984, Mr. Chipura survived one of the most tragic terrorist attacks on the corps when a barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, was bombed on Oct. 23, 1983. “He was obviously very moved by the experience. It made him take stock of his life and realize that at any moment life can end,” said his brother, Gerard Chipura. The native of Sunset park, Brooklyn, lost 241 of his fellow marines, sailors and friends that day. His brother said Mr. Chipura was missing for three whole days in Beirut before he was able to get through to the family and let them know he was fine. He said the recent deja-vu experience was painfully “surreal.” “My sister said, ‘I’m going to give him three days.’ But he hasn’t shown up yet. Not this time,” said his brother. Mr. Chipura, 39, who is now among the missing from the World Trade Center terrorist attack, moved to Tottenville when he was just 12-years-old. A graduate of Tottenville High School in 1980, he later moved to Pleasant Plains in 1995. After his honorable discharge from the Marines in 1987, Mr. Chipura desired to continue serving the community and joined the city Police Department in 1987. He was assigned to the 72nd Precinct in his old neighborhood, Sunset Park, for seven years. Mr. Chipura then devoted three years service in Brooklyn South Narcotics and then returned to the 72nd Precinct as a detective. After 12 years of service to the NYPD, he followed the footsteps of his father, Anthony Chipura, and joined the city Fire Department. “He knew you work as a team, as a unit in the Fire Department — he liked that,’ said his brother. “He always thought people call the Police Department when there’s a problem, to get somebody bad, but you call the Fire Department when people needed help.” Graduating from firefighter training in 1998, Mr. Chipura was assigned to Engine Co. 219, Brooklyn, for one year. He then rotated through Ladder Co. 81, South Beach, and Engine Co. 80 in Manhattan. Mr. Chipura had recently returned to Engine Co. 219 to once again serve Downtown Brooklyn. On Sept. 11, he arrived at Engine 219 to work the day tour and was detailed to Ladder Co. 105, which is housed in the same location. After reports of the first attack, he called his sister, Nancy Chipura, who worked on the 69th Floor of Tower 1. He was unable to make contact. Just before responding to the World Trade Center, Mr. Chipura called his fiancee, Gina DeFalco, who also worked Downtown, for more information about Nancy. He received no word about his sister when he arrived at the scene at 8:45 a.m. with Ladder 105. Witnesses told the family he was last seen assisting in the evacuation of many people from Tower 2. “He was inside when it collapsed,” said his brother. “I know he was looking for my sister.” Mr. Chipura and Ms. DeFalco, who met through a friend in the Fire Department, had planned to marry just six weeks after Sept. 11. “Getting married was the sole focus of his being for the last few months,” said his brother. “He was 39-years-old and finally found the right girl. He held her so close to his heart.” Gerard Chipura said his brother was always trying to help people and make them “feel good.” “He wanted to make everybody happy. He didn’t want anybody to be upset,” said his brother. His brother said he’ll miss “the presence of having him around.” “When John was not serving the community, he was serving his family and friends. He was a great conversationalist, problem solver, hard worker and friend,” said his brother. “John embraced hobbies such as country dancing and motorcycling because he liked the sense of community he found.” Mr. Chipura was a mentor for many at Boy Scout Troop 21. He was a member of the troop since 1974 and went on to serve as assistant scout master until he was lost in the attack. He was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, the Iwo Jima Association and the Beirut Veterans Memorial Association. Mr. Chipura was also a member of St. Joseph and St. Thomas Parish, Pleasant Plains. His mother, Jane Chipura, died in 1994 and his father, Anthony, died in 1996. In addition to his brother, Gerard, and his sister, Nancy Chipura, surviving are his twin sister, Susan Cohen; another sister, Eileen Cella; and several nieces and nephews. The memorial service will take place Tuesday at 11 a.m. in St. Thomas the Apostle R.C. Church, Pleasant Plains. Family and friends are gathering on Monday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 10 p.m. at Bedell-Pizzo Funeral Home, Tottenville.