Posted by: Christine Johnson | September 11, 2009

William Henry, Rescue Company 1, Manhattan

[Note: This is a repost from the past, but I wanted to put it up again. This was a part of the original Project 2996. I didn’t sign up anew, but I did pay tribute to William Henry the first go-around.]

William Henry gave his life in service of others on September 11, 2001, when he went into the World Trade Center to save as many lives as he could. Henry, who was single, was a firefighter at Rescue Co. 1 in Manhattan, and was only 49 years old when he died.

His bio from the NY Times said this about him:

Henry Jr., who was known as Bill or Buddy, had a galaxy of friends and admirers that stretched from the Ladder 24 firehouse on West 31st Street to the paddle tennis courts at wind-swept Jacob Riis Park in the Rockaways. He spent his vacations in places like Brazil, and his free time fixing up houses for people like his mother, Ethel. People would compliment his work; Mr. Henry tended to agree with them. “Yeah,” he’d say, “it’s a beautiful thing.”

His competitive streak ran deep. “He would say to me, you know, I go to more fires than you do,” said John Dopwell, a former colleague at Ladder 24, where Firefighter Henry was assigned before moving on to Rescue 1, also in Manhattan.

He also let all kinds of post-conflagration messiness build up on his coat and helmet, as a sign of how hard he worked. “Outside of his family, that job was what he lived for,” said another friend, Paul Stewart.

For a while, he moonlighted as a security guard at Laura Belle, a nightclub in Times Square. “I was his boss, but in all honesty, he was my boss,” said Joanne O’Connor, the club’s director of catering and special events. “He was always telling me what to do.”

Once Ms. O’Connor made a demand of her own. “I asked him, when are you going to take me for a ride in the fire truck?” It became a joke between them. Then one day, the huge red Rescue 1 pulled up in front of Laura Belle, packed with firemen on their way back from a call. In clomped Mr. Henry, who said, “Let’s go for a ride.”

Newsday paid tribute to Henry, as well.

A Hero Loving Every Part of the Job
September 24, 2001

William L. Henry, a New York City firefighter for the past 20 years, had finished his tour of duty on the morning of Sept. 11 and was preparing to go home when the World Trade Center disaster struck.

Henry, known to most as “Buddy,” jumped on a rig leaving his fire station at 43rd Street and 11th Avenue on Manhattan’s West Side and raced to the scene. The Springfield Gardens resident was one of three firefighters from Rescue 1 who lost their lives in the building collapse. Eight other firefighters from that same station are missing.

“He loved the job with all his heart,” recalls his mother, Ethel. “He was off duty at 9 that morning but he went to the fire. He didn’t have to go, but he went.”

Friends and family say Henry, 49, a quiet, helpful man brought his skills as a contractor during his off hours to his job as a city firefighter. “He was very hard-working and talented,” said Lt. Michael Pena, who recalled how Henry had a knack for setting up electrical wires or solving electrical problems during rescue attempts.

“He was one of our family,” Pena said late last week. “We lived with him, ate with him and hung out with him. He was more than a co-worker. He was part of our family.”

Henry was equally skilled at making friends and colleagues feel at home, said Ray Kemp, a friend in Jamaica, Queens, who played paddle tennis with him on weekends. When he was assigned to a fire station across from St. Francis of Assissi Church in Midtown Manhattan a few years ago, Henry would volunteer on his off hours in the church’s soup kitchen.”

Being a firefighter was Buddy’s main passion,” said his mother. “He loved every part of it – the rescues, fighting fires, being with the fellows. He had an overwhelming love for the job. He never went to work late. Even after work, they’d go out and laugh and have a good time. This is what he did best.”

On Thursday, a memorial service was held at St. Francis, where Henry had been a volunteer and made many friends. His body was buried at Maple Grove Cemetery in Kew Gardens. In addition to his mother, Henry is survived by his sister, Ellen, and a grandmother, Elsie.

— Thomas Maier (Newsday)

This article tells more about him, as well.

The following is a list of all the men from his companywho died that day.

Terence Hatton, Captain
Dennis Mojica, Lieutenant
Joseph Angelini, Firefighter
Gary Geidel, Firefighter
William Henry, Firefighter
Kenneth Marino, Firefighter
Michael Montesi, Firefighter
Gerard Nevins, Firefighter
Patrick O’Keefe, Firefighter
Brian Sweeney, Firefighter
David Weiss, Firefighter

William Henry, 49, was laid to rest on September 20, 2001.You can read a transcript of the audio tapes from 9-11-01 here.

Eternal rest, grant unto them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May the souls of the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Amen.
To sign up to pay tribute to a fallen hero of 9-11-01, please go here.
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