Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering Lt. Kevin W. Donnelly

I decided to join “Project 2,996” because Kim kindly asked. I thought the idea was a good one, and I was more than willing to help remember a victim of 9/11. As I was doing my research for this, I realised I only wrote about that day once; it was in 2006 (read it here).

I'll be writing about one of the 2,996 victims. When I received D. Challener Roe’s email about my assignation, I was happy. I have (like so many) a soft spot for firemen. Firefighters are a special bread of people, they have to be when you think if it. I have the utmost respect for what they do, for the courage they show on a daily base and for running towards danger when everyone else is running away from it.

How do I remember someone I’ve never met? I did ask myself that question since I’ve joined “Project 2,996”, but when I was assigned Lt. Kevin Donnelly and started doing some research on him I realised I didn’t need to have met him to honour him on this day.

Today I’m remembering Lt. Kevin W. Donnelly.

Lieutenant Kevin W. Donnelly
Age : 43
Hometown : Levitton, New York
Occupation: Firefighter, Company Ladder 3
New York Fire Department
Location: Ground, World Trade Centre

Saving lives was in the cards for Lt. Donnelly, known by many as KD. He started out as a lifeguard at the Wantagh pool as a teenager on Long Island. He loved the water and would go back as often as he could.
He kept a bathing suit, a towel and goggles in his car at all times, just in case,” said his long time companion, Mary Coughlin “and in the summer, he’d add two beach chairs, a towel and a bathing suit for me.” (Quote from THE NEW YORK TIMES, on Nov. 23, 2001)
He later built a landscaping company where he would hire high school students on his crew as well as friends who needed to work. He was known for working them hard, and also for making them laugh even harder. Many spoke of his generosity and how good a teacher he was with the young ones. He enjoyed helping others.

He is remembered as a happy, friendly, exceptionally generous and genuinely kind person who is missed not only by his mother Cecilia, by his brother firefighters on the rig, but by everyone who was blessed enough to be touched by his life.

On April 27th, 2002, the New Jersey City University announced the establishment of “the Thomas A. Gardner and the Kevin W. Donnelly Fire Science Program Scholarship” a nice way to remember these two firemen lost as they fought to save lives at the World Trade Centre.

His courage, dedication and service came from a brave heart. May we never forget the ultimate sacrifice Lt. Kevin W. Donnelly made on that day of September 11, 2001.


Source: The Washington Post, and New Jersey City University


Barb said...

What a great remembrance. Good for you for doing this.

Charlie said...

I will never forget the bravery of the firefighters. Thank you for the tribute.

St Jude said...

A brave man and a lovely tribute.

Green-Eyed Momster said...

I thank you for doing this. I have chills and tears right now. I keep all of those who make sacrifices for us in thoughts.

Beautiful tribute, Stinkypaw!


Word Verification, If I typed it correctly is carringu. I read caring you!

Anonymous said...

My name is Matt and I am a firefighter near Colorado Springs, CO. Today I participated in a memorial stair climb in Denver, CO.
AS the day began, we were given a badge with a picture of who we were climbing for of the 343 FDNY members. I was given Lt. Kevin W. Donnelly. The building we climbed was 55 stories and was to be climbed twice. Each floor, I looked at Lt. Donnelly's picture in my badge. Today was about him. As we entered the door to the roof of the qwest tower on the 2nd climb, I made one last look at Lt.'s picture and appreciated his life and devotion to the Fire Service. For me, today wasn't about was about Lt. Kevin Donnelly. I would like to tell the Donnelly Family thank you.
Matt - Falcon Fire Department - Colorado

Kim said...

Beautifully done - thank you for participating

We will never forget

Just a grail said...

That was wonderful, such a sad and horrible day.

Green-Eyed Momster said...

Please see my response to your comment. I'm assuming, that's all!
I DO know about your Dad.....
:( (My Uncle and neighbor and now my friend too....)


Stinkypaw said...

Barb: I did feel good, thanks.

Charlie: Thank you.

St Jude: Thanks.

GEM: Thanks.

Matt: Thank you Matt for sharing your day. May we never forget.

Kim: Thank you for sharing.

Grail: Thanks.

Anonymous said...

My name is Laura I was lucky enough to know Kevin for many years, very long ago when he was a lifeguard & volunteer fireman. His firehouse was right next to my high school & I would visit him there. We lost contact after I graduated & I became a wife & mother but he was always in the back of my mind. It didn't occur to me he would join NYFD until a few years after 911, I was walking down a Manhattan street & i notice his name on a passing firetruck. For those few years I thought I was lucky enough not to have lost anyone on that horrible day, instead i lost one of the most special people i knew from my youth. You mentioned a nickname from FDNY, well fellow lifeguards at Wantagh Park Pool called him "Hollywood", (I think because of his good looks and throngs of admirers & he was like a moviestar around the pool) and other firefighters at Wantagh firehouse (which is on the border of Wantagh & Levittown Long Island) called him "Oneway". They never did tell me why, but they were a bunch of comedians.
I think of Kevin very often wonder what he went though in his last minutes. All I know is he died as he lived since his teens a wonderful hero. He will always be in my heart as he has been since i met him in 1975.

Stinkypaw said...

Laura: Thank YOU for sharing this with us. It made it all ever more real for me, the best tribute for this true hero.

Anonymous said...

With the 10 yr anniversary quickly approaching it breaks my heart to this day that all the men and women who died but especially those who had a choice and gave up their lives for total strangers.
They shall never be forgotten. We are better people today for having men like the Sgt there that day

My love and appreciation to his family

Anonymous said...

My sincere apologies on my mistake
I stated Sgt Donnelly....I meant as he was and is Lt. Kevin W. Donnelly