LEWISBURG — Chris Cannizzaro, Bucknell University senior and baseball team member, recently partnered with a nonprofit organization to ensure the sacrifices of first responders are never forgotten.

Cannizzaro was one of three named to the T2T Student-Athlete Advocate Program by the Tunnel to Towers Foundation. The foundation and its many charitable efforts were begun to honor the the life and legacy of Stephen Siller, a New York City firefighter who lost his life on Sept. 11, 2001.

Cannizzaro’s father also died that day while serving at Ladder 101 in Red Hook, Brooklyn. The soon-to-be-graduate student was less than a year old at the time. The company was not far from the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, namesake of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

Cannizzaro said he was honored to be named by the foundation and along with his family has supported it.

“It’s my goal to live out my dad’s legacy every day,” he said. “This is just one of the little things I can do to honor that.”

Cannizzaro said family bonds grew stronger after the infamous day.

“ Me and my mom are best friends and have the best relationship we can possibly have,” Cannizzaro said. “I really thank her for everything.”

Jackie, Cannizzaro’s widowed mom, married a man named John about two years after 9/11.

“He’s just been the best,” Cannizzaro said. “He actually got me started with baseball and has just been my hero ever since.”

Cannizzaro said he wanted to play college baseball while also pursing a strong academic program. Arriving at Bucknell for a visit, he said it “felt like home” the moment he stepped on campus. He majored in psychology and minored in economics.

Because of some surgery as a freshman and the “COVID year,” Cannizzaro will be eligible to play baseball as a graduate student at Virginia Tech.

“What they told me was that they bring in experienced guys who have played at the college level,” Cannizzaro said. “They tend to perform a little better at that level right away. Hopefully, I’ll go in there and be able to play right away and help them however I can.”

Meantime, Cannizzaro said he was “100% focused” and excited to get started. An outfielder, he has earned a Patriot League (PL) batting title, led the PL in slugging percentage and was named to the All-Patriot League First Team during his junior year.

FYI: Bucknell’s Cannizzaro is not related to Christopher J. Cannizzaro (1938-2016) who played all or part of 14 seasons in Major League Baseball. A catcher, Cannizzaro played with the Cardinals, Mets, Pirates, Padres, Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers.

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