Monday, September 9, 2013

Within....

Never give up.
Never give in.
Fight 'til you lose....
Or fight 'til you win.
Never let up.
Never let down.
Never let the frightened....
See you frown.
Wield your weapons.
Conquer all fears.
Work 'til your sweat...
Replaces their tears.
Learn from your losses.
Savor your wins.
Prepare for the next one.
And battle again....
- "The Firefighter Within"

Donald Regan.  Firefighter Donald Regan was a seventeen-year veteran of the FDNY.  In the Fall of 2001 he was a member of Rescue Co. 3 in the Bronx, one of the FDNY's elite rescue units.  Firefighter Regan had been part of Rescue Co. 3 for five years.  During his FDNY career, he received a Department medal for bravery.  Donald Regan was a hell of a firefighter.  But he was far more than simply that.  He was a father, survived by his three sons and a daughter.  He was a husband, survived by Theresa, his wife of twenty-six years.  At age 47, he had reached the point in his life where not all of his children still called his home their home (an emotion with which I can most certainly relate).  Every Saturday morning he would go to his local post office, in Pine Bush, N.Y., and mail packages to his two who no longer lived nearby - sending them whatever they needed.  One of his "far away" children was his son Peter.  In September 2001 Peter was a member of the in the United States armed forces, stationed in California.  In 2004, Peter followed his dad's footsteps into the FDNY.  He is assigned to Ladder Co. No. 174. 

Firefighter Donald Regan was a man who always put his family first.  Shortly after his father's death in September 2001, his son Shane remarked about his father's willingness to drive "classic cars" - beaters with at least 100,000 miles on them - to ensure that he had enough money for his family.  Irony is a cruel mistress.  Donald Regan had finally bought himself a new car, a 2001 Chrysler Sebring, shortly before he was killed in action on September 11, 2001. 

Robert Regan.  Lieutenant Robert Regan of Ladder Co. No. 118 spent the final morning of his life in the company of five men who were indeed his brothers-in-arms:  Firefighter Leon Smith, Firefighter Scott Davidson, Firefighter Joseph Agnello, Firefighter Peter Vega and Firefighter Vernon Cherry.  An amateur photographer snapped a photo of the six of them speeding across the Brooklyn Bridge in their truck towards the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001. 



They were last seen in the Marriott World Trade Center Hotel evacuating staff and guests as both of the Twin Towers collapsed around it - and around them.  Tragically, as was the case for 337 of their colleagues, neither Lieutenant Regan nor his five comrades lived to tell their tale.

Lieutenant Robert Regan was a sixteen-year veteran of the FDNY.  He had been a civil engineer prior to joining the Department but - looking for a career doing something that would both enable him to give back to the community and allow him to spend more time with his young children - he joined the FDNY.  At the time of their dad's death in September 2001 his daughter Caitlin was sixteen and his son Robert was eleven.  A living testament to the character of their father, their mother Donna and themselves Caitlin grew up to become a graphic designer and Robert, a Marist College graduate, began his post-college life as an intern at NBC.    

-AK

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