MANLIUS, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — At least once a week around 7 o’clock at night, one man from Manlius brings his bagpipes outside and plays for his neighbors. Dave Fullam started doing this about a month ago in honor of frontline workers and those who have died from COVID-19. But then he saw how much his neighbors enjoyed his music.
“It takes you away from everything, all the bad news, and stuff. And it gives you a little bit of peace for a while,” Fullam said.
Playing is an emotional experience for Fullam, as it’s been a lifetime goal of his. But he had to put that dream on hold when he became a firefighter in New York City, where he served as a lieutenant during 9/11, along with his brother.
“After that, I was hardly home for about a year. It was hard on everybody,” Fullam said.
Putting it all behind, Fullam moved to Central New York, joining the Syracuse Scottish, a local pipe band.
However, when his brother died of a 9/11-related illness, he couldn’t ignore the past. He now plays with his brother’s name engraved on the pipes, along with another friend he lost that day.
“Mychal Judge was the first one to die in 9/11. Unfortunately, his tag was number one. And then, so he represents all we lost that day. And my brother’s name is on here and represents everybody we’ve lost since,” Fullam said.
He plays each song in their memory, but with that darkness comes light. Something he’s sharing with others each week.
“The neighborhood loves it. Oh, it’s just, it’s in your heart. It just gets to your heart,” said Jane, Dave’s neighbor who he surprised with a song on her birthday.
“I’ve got great neighbors, we love each other, we know each other, so were kind of close here and you go out and do it and we all know we’ll have a story about somebody. You know, whether it be someone you knew from 9/11 or even now. You know who’s working in a hospital, who’s a fireman, who’s a cop,” Fullam said.
Fullam also recently lost a friend living in New York City during the pandemic. Since there could be no formal funeral arrangments, he plays in his honor, as well. Fullam also thinks of his sister, who is serving as a nurse in downstate New York. He said he will continue to play for the remainder of the pandemic.
Click the video below to listen to more of Fullam playing his bagpipes