In this world today there are many different ways to be a hero. It can be as simple as being the guy at work who gets the donuts for everyone in the morning, or a mailman, or a great mom or dad. It can also be as big as being a President who gives all equality. In this case, my hero, Stephen, saved the lives of many, but sacrificed something bigger than you would ever imagine: his very own life.
|Stephen next to his fire truck|
A terrible thing happened on September 11, 2001 in New York City, the greatest city in the world. As most know, there were terrorist attacks that resulted in the falling of the majestic World Trade Center towers. Not only this, but many lost their lives.
On that ominous morning of September 11th, Stephen was supposed to have a relaxing day playing golf with his brothers. Stephen was a firefighter, and he happened to be off that day, so he used his time to play golf. He received a call from his fellow firefighters telling him about the terrorist attacks that were taking place as they spoke. At that moment, Stephen knew he was called by God to save lives. He told his brothers farewell, and went to the firehouse to get on the truck with the other firefighters.
As the truck got to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, there was no wiggle room whatsoever. They were not moving at all. Stephen could have just waited it out on the fire truck in the tunnel, but he put his life and his life with his children and wonderful wife at stake for the common welfare of others who needed his help. Stephen grittingly threw all of his extremely heavy firefighter gear on, and ran a whole three miles to get to the burning towers.
When he got there he charged into the building right away to save as many innocent lives as he could. Stephen had no fear. He came out of the building, seeing his firefighter friends relieved, but he told them, “I’m goin’ back in.” Gallantly, Stephen went back into those collapsing towers, but sadly, never came back out.
|The official logo for the Tunnel to Towers Run|
This day is remembered as one of the saddest days in American history. Many innocent people and many firefighters died that day. Stephen is probably the bravest hero I have ever laid eyes on, and he happens to be my own uncle’s brother. Although he died, Stephen’s courage will never be forgotten. My uncle and all of his siblings have created a foundation and even a run in Stephen’s name! The foundation is called the Let Us Do Good Children’s Foundation. Recently, they opened a house for children who have been orphaned called Stephen’s House.
The reason why the house is for orphans is because Stephen himself was an orphan. Stephen was born into a family of brothers and sisters already past college or in college. At age eight, Stephen’s father sadly passed away. At age ten, his mother passed away after a fight with cancer. Stephen became an orphan. He had a tough time dealing with this. Even though his wonderful parents passed away, his oldest brother, Russell (Russ for short), who was married, took him under his wing and raised him as his own child in his Rockville Centre home.
Stephen was the kind of person who liked to help people. He was like this his whole life. That’s why he became a firefighter in the first place. Stephen had a tough childhood at first, but he got past it and grew from it.
Today, there is a huge run in the city that draws millions of people. If you live around New York, you probably have heard of the Tunnel to Towers Run, which is in memory of Stephen. This run follows Stephen’s footsteps on that very day, going through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the site of Ground Zero. This run is extremely emotional, because firefighters from everywhere in the U.S. and even from Europe come and run with full gear on. Also, the Wounded Warriors Foundation comes. People with prosthetic legs and arms also run in the race. People who are paralyzed from the legs down race before the runners in wheelchairs in which they use only their hands. Even people in the armed forces come, chanting as they run in line. It is truthfully amazing to watch and hear all of the action when you are running. As a relative of Stephen, it is a great feeling to see everyone participating in memory of him.
Stephen gave up his life to help the people of New York City. He gave up everything he had. He is the most solemn person I have ever known, and he made the most faithful sacrifice for others. He is a model for all firefighters, and all unfortunate orphans. It is rewarding to see what has been done in memory of Stephen, because he truly deserves it.