Sunday, October 17, 2010

Today We Remember Welles Crowther

Today we remember Welles Crowther, 24, "The man in the red bandana".

Welles was an equities trader. He could have easily just exited the building and gotten himself to safety with no shame. Instead, he found the courage to go above and beyond what was required of him. On September 11, 2001, Welles was no longer an equities trader, he was a firefighter.

In the weeks and months after the attack, eyewitnesses reported that, after the 2nd plane had hit into the 78th floor Sky Lobby, out of nowhere, a young man burst into the Sky Lobby and took control. He was stripped to his T-shirt and wearing a red bandana to cover his nose and mouth, protection against the smoke and debris. 

This "man" organized a rescue effort on the floors high above where the official rescue workers were able to reach. He called for fire extinguishers, he found and directed dazed and confused victims to the only stairwell that was open for escape, and he carried a woman on his back down to the 61st floor, then returned to the 78th floor to rescue more people. He turned back up once again after bringing the second group of survivors down.

His mom read a story in the NY Times about this man in the red bandana and immediately she knew, the man in the red bandana was her son, Welles Crowther. Welles carried a red bandana in his back pocket everywhere he went. While he was in high school, at the age of 16, Welles joined Empire Hook & Ladder Co., No. 1, Upper Nyack, NY as a junior member. When he turned 18, Welles completed the New York State training program in firematics and became a full member of the company, fighting fires and dealing with emergency situations. She knew it was her son who had rescued so many lives.

These qualities of sense of duty and caring for others were a solid part of Welles' character all throughout his life. "I see this incredible hero, running back and forth and saving the day," recalled Judy Wein, who credits Welles for saving her life. "In his mind, he had a duty to do -- to save people…People can live 100 years and not have the compassion, the wherewithal to do what he did.”

The Crowther Family ultimately learned, almost 3 years later, that Welles and the members of FDNY with whom he was recovered, had been on their way back up the South Tower with a Hearst “jaws of life” tool to free victims who were trapped under debris, presumably in the Sky Lobby.

A week before Sept. 11, as his Labor Day Weekend spent at home was coming to an end, he looked at his mom and said “You know mom, I have a feeling I’m going to be part of something big, I just don’t know what it is yet".

Following his death, they found a partially filled out FDNY firefighter application in his apartment.

We Will Never Forget!

No comments:

Post a Comment