Monday, September 19, 2011

Lesson II of the Rule of Three

Lieutenant Brian Ahearn of Engine 230 in Brooklyn. Lt. Ahearn was a husband, married to Debra. Lt. Ahearn was a father. He and Debra had one daughter Lauren and one son Christopher. Lt. Ahearn was a brother to his sister Betty. Lt. Ahearn was a son. His parents, Edward and June, endured every parent's nightmare. They outlived their child. On October 27, 2001 they had a Memorial Mass for their son. It is not unreasonable to think that his parents were acutely aware of the possibility of outliving their son better than parents might otherwise be. Edward Ahearn was himself a Lieutenant in the FDNY with Ladder 42. It likely did not make it hurt any less.

Firefighter Eric Allen was a member of Rescue Squad 18. Allen was all of 5'5" tall but cast a shadow far longer than his physical stature. In addition to being a member of Rescue Squad 18 he had two other jobs he loved passionately: being husband to Angelica and father to Kathleen, who was only three years old when her father died in the line of duty. In the New York Times profile of FF Allen it was written, "As he drove on jaunts to the country with his wife, Angelica (whom he nicknamed Schnauzer) and their 3-year-old, Kathleen (whom he nicknamed Mouse) he would make up songs about how much he loved them, yelping happily."

Firefighter Richard Allen was a member of Ladder 15 in Manhattan. He was thirty-one years old. On September 11, 2001 FF Allen was off duty. When the call came in that a plane had struck the North Tower, he jumped onto an Engine 4 Truck and joined the effort at the World Trade Center. In his obituary, his family spoke of him as follows:

Richie loved the beach and worked Rockaway’s beaches as a lifeguard for many years and he treasured it. The beach was a peaceful place for Richie and brought him comfort; it was Richie’s Heaven on Earth. He loved the ocean, which is where he surfed, fished, swam and paddled.

Before becoming a fireman and when not lifeguarding on the beach in the summer, Richie spent his winters as a New York City Public School teacher. He quickly and easily gained the admiration and respect of his students as they could tell that he was not like their other teachers. To his students, Richie was someone they could relate to and they described him as “laid back” and “cool”.

People become firemen for many reasons. Richie’s family believes that he became a fireman because saving people and helping is what gave him life. During his short life, he saved many people; some he saved as a fireman, some he saved while lifeguarding and some he saved from themselves. His family believes that this is what God put him on this earth for. Once people met Richie, their lives were changed forever.



Three men. Three of the 343.

I need your kiss, but love and duty called you someplace higher
Somewhere up the stairs into the fire
.

-AK

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