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Stepinac HS Plans To Honor Bomb Sniffing Dog Named In Memory Of Alum

"Riverso," a 3-year-old bomb sniffing dog named in honor of a Stepinac alum who perished in 9/11, will be honored at a football ball game at Stepinac.
"Riverso," a 3-year-old bomb sniffing dog named in honor of a Stepinac alum who perished in 9/11, will be honored at a football ball game at Stepinac. Photo Credit: Contributed

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Archbishop Stepinac High School will celebrate the memory of Joseph R. Riverso, White Plains native and alum, athlete and assistant football coach who perished in the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center, and a special guest will also be honored at its football game against Holy Trinity on Saturday, Oct. 11.

There will be a special memorial ceremony that precedes the annual Joe Riverso Memorial Varsity Football Game.

Before the game begins at 6 p.m. at Stepinac, attendees will be joined by a special guest who has been trained to sniff explosive materials on people, luggage and items left unattended by passengers at a major U.S. airport on Saturday, Oct. 11. He is “Riverso,” a 3-year-old Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) K-9 Labrador who was named to help carry on the life and memory of Joe Riverso. The canine and David Wills, a TSA explosives detection canine handler, will fly in for the special occasion from Indianapolis International Airport where they have been working for the past few year years following the training and certification of “Riverso” in the TSA Passenger Screen Canine Program. Stepinac will honor “Riverso” and Wills. Joe Riverso grew up in White Plains, and at Stepinac, he excelled at football and golf, becoming the captain of the varsity football team and being named to the first team all-league in 1985. He also served as an assistant football coach at Stepinac for 16 years. He received a bachelor’s degree in finance from Iona College and, at the time of his death, was a bond trader in the operations department at Cantor Fitzgerald at the World Trade Center.

As a caring and knowledgeable football coach, he was elected to the Board of Governors of the Catholic High School Football League and was invited to the Heisman Trophy Awards Ceremonies. He had also served as a volunteer baseball coach in the Harrison Little League for his daughter Danielle’s team.

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