Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Boston Strong

I never had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of FF Gerard Dewan, FDNY, Ladder Company 3.  I know of at least one common trait the two of us shared:  Each of us was born the youngest sibling in a family of six children.  The similarities between this fallen hero and Yours truly end right there, which comes as no surprise to any who know me - including but not limited to the aforementioned five older Kenny siblings.    

The Dewan clan's roots are in Boston.  Gerard Dewan was - as he proudly told anyone who would ask (and being a Bostonian probably more than a few people who never even had a chance to ask!) a Bostonian.  He was not a New Yorker.  He was a firefighter though - in his soul and in his DNA.  His father had been a firefighter as had his father before him.  Gerard Dewan had an itch he had to scratch - so he bought a ticket and headed south to New York City.  He took the test, survived "probie school" and made the cut as a member of the FDNY.  

FF Dewan was thirty years old when he migrated south from Beantown to the Big Apple.  He spent the final five years of his life doing what he loved.  He was not married.  He had no children.  He lived in a basement apartment that he rented from fellow firefighter Sean Cummins.  Two nights before he died, FF Dewan hung out with FF Cummins' young children, helping them write their names on their crayon boxes in anticipation of the first day of school.  

Jerry Dewan and his brothers from Ladder 3/Battalion 6 were last heard from climbing upward in the North Tower, somewhere above the 35th floor, when the tower collapsed.  FF Dewan's firehouse lost twelve men, which represented almost half of its manpower.   His gang had been among the very first members of the FDNY to respond to the Towers on that terrible morning.  

It was not until almost three months after FF Dewan disappeared into the maelstrom of the North Tower of the World Trade Center that his body was recovered from the site.  His family, which had loaned him and his courage to New York City, brought him home to Boston, which is where he was buried.  

FF Gerard P. Dewan 
FDNY - Ladder Co. 3


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