Castle Hill street co-named for Bronx Bomber, WWII hero
John N. Sekul’s neice and nephew, Niki Cohen and Michael Sekul, along with John’s relative, Christopher Sekul and more family were joined by Councilman Ruben Diaz, Sr., to unveil the
street co-naming. Photo by Silvio Pacifi co
FAMILY COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK
COUNTY OF THE BRONX
Docket No. NN-22460-18
CHILD NEGLECT CASE
In the Matter of a Proceeding Under
BABY GIRL WILLAMS
AKA MERCY RIDLEY
Child(ren) Under Eighteen Years of Age Alleged to have been Neglected by
IN THE NAME OF THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK
NOTICE: PLACEMENT OF YOUR CHILD IN FOSTER CARE MAY RESULT IN THE LOSS OF
YOUR RIGHTS TO YOUR CHILD. IF YOUR CHILD STAYS IN FOSTER CARE FOR 15 OF THE
MOST RECENT 22 MONTHS, THE AGENCY MAY BE REQUIRED BY LAW TO FILE A
PETITION TO TERMINATE YOUR PARENTAL RIGHTS AND TO COMMIT GUARDIANSHIP
AND CUSTODY OF YOUR CHILD TO THE AGENCY FOR THE PURPOSES OF ADOPTION. IN
SOME CASES, THE AGENCY MAY FILE BEFORE THE END OF THE 15-MONTH PERIOD. IF
SEVERE OR REPEATED CHILD ABUSE IS PROVEN BY CLEAN AND CONVINCING
EVIDENCE, THIS FINDING MAY CONSTITUTE THE BASIS TO TERMINATE YOUR
PARENTAL RIGHTS AND TO COMMIT GUARDIANSHIP AND CUSTODY OF YOUR CHILD TO
THE AGENCY FOR THE PURPOSES OF ADOPTION.
TO: VEVECIA WILLIAMS
A petition under ARTICLE 10 of the FAMILY COURT ACT having been filed with this Court, and
annexed hereto YOU ARE HEREBY SUMMONED to appear before this court 900 Sheridan
Avenue, Bronx, New York 10451, Part 2, on SEPTEMBER 11th, 2019 at 12:00 oʼclock in the
afternoon of that day to answer the petition and be dealt with in accordance with ARTICLE 10 of
the FAMILY COURT ACT.
On your failure to appear as herein directed, a warrant may be issued for your arrest.
BY ORDER OF THE COURT
HON. ALMA GOMEZ
JUDGE OF THE FAMILY COURT
FURTHER NOTICE: Family Court Act §154 (c) provides that petitions brought pursuant to Articles
4, 5, 6, 8 and 10 of the Family Court Act, in which an order of protection is sought or in which a
violation of an order of protection is alleged, may be served outside the State of New York upon a
Respondent who is not a resident or domiciliary of the State of New York. If no other grounds for
obtaining personal jurisdiction over the Respondent exist aside from the application of this
provision, the exercise of personal jurisdiction over the respondent is limited to the issue of the
request for, or alleged violation of the order of protection. Where the Respondent has been served
with this summons and petition and does not appear, the Family Court may proceed to a hearing
with respect to issuance or enforcement of the order of protection.
Dated: August 1, 2019
BRONX TIMES REPORTER, AUGUST 30-BTR SEPTEMBER 5, 2019 11
BY ALEX MITCHELL
An American hero who fell victim
to an almost forgotten heinous crime
at the hands of a Nazi offi cer was immortalized
near his Castle Hill home
on Monday, August 26.
John N. Sekul was a true patriot
since his days living at his family
home of 2263 Newbold Avenue with his
sister and two brothers before enlisting
in the air force as a 20-year-old in
1942, after graduating from Evander
Childs High School.
After earning the rank of second
lieutenant in 1944, John and eight
other airmen prepared for their very
mission fl ying a consolidated B-24 ‘Liberator’
named the ‘Wham Bam Thank
You Ma’m!’ was co-piloted by Sekul.
That spirited aircraft joined 2,000
Allied planes on an extensive bombing
raid near Hanover, Germany on
Sunday, August 24, 1944. The Wham
Bam Thank You Ma’m! along with 485
B-24s, 834 B-17s, and 739 fi ghter planes
took part in the largest fl ight formation
to leave England at its time.
Things went south for the crew as
they approached Hanover.
Taking heavy fl ack and anti-aircraft
suppression to the Liberator’s
bomb bay and hydraulic system, an
order to bail out behind enemy lines
was given to the desperate crew.
Sekul along with pilot Norman J.
Rogers, Jr. were the last to jump from
the bomber as it began to plunge into
a German farmland, where the whole
crew was captured.
After a day and a half of being
moved by German troops, the crew
passed through Rüsselsheim, Germany
which had been shelled by Royal
Air Force bombers the night before.
Enraged by the damage the bombing
infl icted to their homes, the townspeople
approached and beat the Wham
Bam Thank You Ma’m! crew mercilessly
with the assistance of a German
air-raid warden, Josef Hartgen.
The more Sekul and crew reacted
to the beating, the worse they were
pummeled with hammers, shovels,
wood planks, and whatever the German
civilians could get their hands
Hartgen then lined up the about
to-be-lynched air force men to be executed
in front of the angry mob.
Sekul and three of his comrades
were shot dead at point blank range
at the hands of the Nazi offi cer. One
witness later told during a war crimes
trial that he remembered Sekul looking
up shaking his head no, as he was
about to be shot.
The other two B-24 crewmembers
cheated death when Hartgen ran out
of ammunition and an air raid siren
alert caused the mob to disperse.
Hartgen was found guilty of war
crimes after peace was restored and
A motorcade of veterans proceeded
past Sekul’s Bronx home on Monday
afternoon along with family, community
members and elected offi cials to
unveil ‘John N Sekul Way’ at the intersection
of Newbold and Havemeyer
avenues exactly 75 years after that
More than a commemoration,
the forgotten story of John’s murder
united two parts of the Sekul family
that didn’t know each other existed
prior to the ceremony.
Christopher Sekul, the son of
John’s brother, Nicholas, found John’s
fi rst cousin and oldest living relative,
Michael online after learning of the
The reunited family realized how
far its military roots continued past
John. Nicholas was also killed in action
during World War II, while Michael
had joined the U.S. Air Force in
1961. Prior to that he lived on Bruckner
“Several Sekuls were killed in the
line of duty,” Christopher said at the
When Christopher and Michael
learned more about the family’s patriotic
history, they also found out that
the separated families pronounce
their last name differently.
“We say Se-kul and they say Sekul,
but they also cook great so we let it
slide,” Michael joked.
Regardless of a difference over
pronunciation, Michael and Christopher
both agreed on the signifi cance
of keeping John N. Sekul’s memory