Thursday, October 23, 2014
   
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Kevin Shea (survivor)

Kevin Shea in debris September 11,2001, 10am

"Assigned to Ladder 35, Upper West Side Manhattan. Responded to incident while off-duty. Remember being in the South Tower lobby before the collapse. During collapse, I was blown towards Albany and West. Sustained serious injuries including a broken neck and multiple trauma. Crawled 200 feet till surrendered to condition. Was found unconscious at intersection of Albany and West. Was rescued and evacuated for medical treatment. Survived, unlike 11 of my brothers in my firehouse. Stay committed to helping them.
Thanks for all your support."


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Kevin Shea found in debris 9-11-2001 10 AM.

 

Kevin Shea.

(Kevin is one of the two brothers who made the Fallen Brother site.He lost 11 of his brothers that day. His live will never be the same.)
Thank you Kevin for let me publish this on my site and I hope to hear you soon.

Patricia

A Fire Captain's Eulogy

 

by Captain James Gormley, Engine 40

T he building housing Engine Company 40 and Ladder Company 35 is on the corner of Amsterdam Avenue and 66th Street, and because it is on the West Side, its men managed to get to the World Trade Center disaster sooner than many other units. Of the 13 firefighters who jumped aboard the two rigs that morning, only one survived, Kevin Shea, who was apparently knocked unconscious during the collapse of one of the towers and literally blown out of the building.

 

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Shea In the hospital.

In the weeks and months that followed, the men of the firehouse attended a series of services for their fallen comrades from this and other units. At the last of these services for the men of 40/35, on Dec. 10, Capt. James Gormley, the house commander, paid tribute to his colleague, Capt. Francis J. Callahan, a 30-year veteran of the department who was killed on Sept. 11. Captain Gormley eloquently described the complexity of command facing an officer in the New York Fire Department. His eulogy was delivered, fittingly, at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, which the firefighters of 40/35 had been responsible for.

Captains and lieutenants of the New York City Fire Department share a special relationship with other officers of similar rank. When we meet for the first time we introduce ourselves to each other, we shake hands, we measure each other's resolve and fortitude. At Operations our aggressiveness is based on the trust we share in each other.

Firefighters and their officers share a different, but also special relationship. Officers very literally lead firefighters into harm's way. We go first. If things go badly we are required by our oath and tradition to be the last of our command to leave. Accountability for our men is carved into our heart. Responsibility for our men, their wives and children are in the depth of our soul.

This is why we are here today. Capt. Frank Callahan is the ranking officer killed at the World Trade Center from our firehouse. He leaves last. I cannot say he will be the last to ever leave. We live in a dangerous world, and we put our boots and helmets on every day.

Captains, especially commanding officers of companies in the same quarters, have a unique relationship. We know each other as no else ever will. We are commanding officers of complementary companies. We cannot work successfully without each other. There are not many of us, you could fit us in one fair-sized room. We are not always friends. There is too much at stake, but our respect, and trust in each other, is unquestioned.

Frank Callahan was more than my friend, to simply call him brother would not do our relationship justice. Frank was my comrade. It's harder to be a comrade than a friend. It's different than being a brother.

Friends and brothers forgive your mistakes. They are happy to be with you. You can relax and joke with them. You can take your ease with them — tell them tall tales.

Comrades are different. Comrades forgive nothing. They can't. They need you to be better. They keep you sharp. They take your words literally.

When a friend dies we miss them, we regret words unspoken, we remember the love. When a brother dies we grieve for the future without him. His endless possibilities. If your brother doesn't die of old age you might never accept the parting. When a comrade dies we miss them, we regret words unspoken, we remember the love, we grieve the future without them. We are also proud. Proud to have known a good man, a better man than ourselves. We respect the need for him to leave, to rest.

Some people equate camaraderie with being jovial. It is anything but. Camaraderie is sharing hardship. It is shouts and commands, bruises and cuts. It's a sore back and lungs that burn from exertion. It's heat on your neck and a pit in your stomach. It's a grimy handshake and a hug on wet shoulders when we're safe. It's not being asleep when it's your turn on watch. It is trust, it is respect, it is acting honorably.

You hold your comrade up when he can't stand on his own. You breathe for him when his body's forgotten how. It's lifting a man up who loves his wife and children as much as you love your own. Looking them in the eye for the rest of your life and trying to explain, and not being able to. You kiss them for him. It's laying him down gently when his name appears on God's roll call. It's remembering his name. I'll never forget his name. He was just what he was called: Frank. You never had to chase your answer. He said it to your face.

It's at the same time being both amazed and proud that you've known men like him. Looking for your reflection in their image. Seeing it. Knowing you're one of them.

There's a song out of Ireland. A line of it says, "Comrade tread lightly, you're near to a hero's grave." If you ever said that to Frank he would have given you the "look" and pushed past you in the hallway.

Frank was light on his feet but he never tread anywhere lightly. When Frank did something it was like a sharp axe biting into soft fresh pine, with a strong sure stroke. It was done. It was right. It meant something. It was refreshing. It smelled good.

Quite often we discussed history. The successes and failures of political, military and social leadership. The depth and broadness of Frank's historical knowledge was astounding.

I've been told Frank enjoyed a practical joke. We never joked together. Rarely laughed. We never sought out each other's company on days off. We never went golfing or fishing. We never went for a hike in the Shawangunk Mountains together. We were often happier apart than we ever were together because we shared the nightmares of command.

We shared problems. We shared stress. We shared dark thoughts that are now front-page news. Incredulous at the failures of leadership that have borne fruit. We shared the proposition of a time and place where few would dare to go. He went there because it was his turn. He called his wife, Angie, before he received his orders to respond. He told her what was going on. He told her things didn't look good; he told her he loved her.

Historically it is said, "They rode to the sound of the guns":

  • Capt. Frank Callahan
  • Lt. John Ginley
  • Firefighter 1 Gr. Bruce Gary
  • Firefighter 1 Gr. James Giberson
  • Firefighter 1 Gr. Michael Otten
  • Firefighter 1 Gr. Kevin Bracken
  • Firefighter 1 Gr. Steve Mercado
  • Firefighter 1 Gr. Michael Roberts
  • Firefighter 1 Gr. John Marshall
  • Firefighter 3 Gr. Vincent Morello
  • Firefighter 3 Gr. Michael Lynch
  • Firefighter 6 Gr. Michael D'Auria
  • and Firefighter 2 Gr. Kevin Shea

Kevin, we are joyful that we got you back. Have no guilt. The same goes for the rest of us. I know what you all did, you got your gear on, found a tool, wrote your name or Social Security number in felt tip pen on your arm or a leg, a crisis tattoo in case you got found.

We went down there knowing things could go badly. We stayed until we were exhausted, got three hours sleep and went back again, and again. That's what comrades do. Only luck and circumstance separate us from them.

It is significant that we are in Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The first performance here was "West Side Story," the story of this neighborhood. This Act is part of that story. It is more than we can absorb in one lifetime, so the story must be told until it makes sense.

It is poignant because the arts have helped mankind deal with reality since stories were told round the fire and we drew on cave walls. The arts help us exercise our emotions. We are surrounded by art and overwhelmed by our emotions. From the pictures children have drawn for us, the poetry, songs, and banners, to the concerts, plays and operas that we have been invited to attend — use the arts to heal your heart. Exercise your emotions. Feel anger, feel hate, feel love and pride. Run the gamut of your emotions until you settle where you belong, as good honorable men, every inch the equal of our comrades, friends and brothers. That's what they want. That's what your families need. That's what you deserve.

Frank was a trusted leader, a captain. The best commander I've encountered here, or in the military. It was important to him. We both believed captain to be the most important rank in the department. He was forged by his family, his comrades, every officer and firefighter that he ever worked with. He was tempered by his experience.

History, the record of successes and failures of leadership, has caused us to be here. Capt. Frank Callahan did not fail in his leadership. He led his command where they were needed, and he's the last of them to leave. If more of the world's leaders were forged as he was, our world would not be in its current state.

Frank Callahan is a star, a reference point. A defined spot on the map of humanity. Guide on him to navigate the darkness. You will not wander, you will not become lost.

 


Lucky 2 Meet Their Rescuers

Photog spotted injured fireman

By MELISSA GRACE
Daily News Staff Writer

The last time their paths crossed, Firefighter Kevin Shea was barely conscious, his battered body lying on West St., a block from where the World Trade Center's south tower once stood.

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Firefighter Kevin Shea lies in ash-covered debris in photo taken by Todd Maisel after he got help that saved Shea.

Amid the carpet of gray that enveloped the area, Todd Maisel, a Daily News photographer, somehow spotted Shea.

Maisel ran for help, grabbing four men — a cop, a firefighter, a paramedic and an unidentified man — who managed to pull Shea, 34, to safety.

Since that day, Shea — who had a broken neck, multiple trauma, loss of part of his right thumb and other injuries — has been trying to find out how he made it out alive. He had no recollection of Maisel or the other rescuers. The last thing he remembered from Sept. 11 was being in the south tower lobby.

Part of Shea's rehabilitation was physical. He would spend weeks at a Long Island hospital, performing exercises that have brought him close to full strength. But the other part of Shea's rehabilitation was mental. He had to know how he survived Sept. 11.

Yesterday, he got his answer.

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Shea (left) and Maisel are reunited yesterday.

In a emotional reunion, one that began with backslaps and then bear hugs and teary eyes, the two men met for the first time at Shea's tiny upper East Side apartment.

Maisel, 41, came bearing pictures of the firefighter on the ground, covered with soot and grimacing in pain. Besides the red and orange glow of a fire burning brightly nearby, the color picture is otherwise gray because of the dust that settled over much of lower Manhattan that morning.

'He'd Be Dead'

About 20 minutes after that picture was taken, the north tower came down. "If we didn't get him [out], he'd be dead," Maisel said. "That second building would have got him for sure."

Shea was the only member of Engine 40, on the upper West Side, working the morning of Sept. 11 who lived through the Trade Center attacks.

Doctors told Shea that he had talked of crawling 200 feet through debris, following a thin shaft of light. But he doesn't remember any of it.

Likewise, Maisel didn't know the identity of the man he had helped save.

When he displayed his photographs of the rescue at the Bolivar Arellano Gallery, a studio on E. Ninth St. in Manhattan, a firefighter told Maisel he believed the man in the photograph was dead. "That freaked me out. I thought he was alive," Maisel said.

He said he took Shea's picture down and started asking around. He found out that one of the rescuers was Richie Nogan, a firefighter from Ladder 113 in Brooklyn. Maisel contacted Nogan, who told him it was Shea, and that he was alive.

Once he learned that, Maisel said he "went right back to the gallery and put it up on the wall."

Perhaps most surprising to Maisel was seeing Shea walk.

"He wants to go back [to work]," the photographer said. "I can't believe he's healed. I expected to see him in a neck brace."

January 10 at the Firehouse


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