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  1. #1
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    Thumbs down Shunned by his co-workers? Why?

    THE FIREFIGHTING HERO WHOSE LIFE WAS DESTROYED BY A CHANCE PHOTO

    Copyright 2001 The Scotsman Publications Ltd.
    The Scotsman...12/26/2001

    WHEN fireman Mike Kehoe was photographed running up the stairs of the World Trade Centre to rescue victims trapped above him, he became an icon for people who wanted to believe that something good could have come out of the tragedy.

    The picture appeared in newspapers around the world, but Mr Kehoe's fate was unknown. Most people assumed he had perished trying to save others.

    The truth, however, was that moments after the 33-year-old was snapped by a fleeing worker on the 28th floor, he turned round and headed back down the stairs to safety.

    He survived the fall of the twin towers, but he has been unable to escape the burdens of fame. Three months on, Mr Kehoe says he wishes the picture had never been taken.

    Overwhelmed by the stress of his fame and plagued by guilt that he survived when thousands died, his colleagues have shunned him and his wife has been plagued by questions from people who saw the picture and assume she is a widow. He receives fan mail from obsessed women and from mothers who say he has become a role model for their children.

    The photograph which changed Mr Kehoe's life was taken by John Labriola, who had an office on the 71st floor of Tower One. Mr Kehoe appears wide-eyed and slightly dazed, but no-one else is paying him much attention. Since it was published, no-one has stopped paying him attention.

    Mr Kehoe, however, is embarrassed he has been hailed as a hero when colleagues who died or did more than him are still unknown.

    "I saved one person that day, and that was me," he said. "And it was by running for my life."

    Afterwards, he admitted, his biggest concern was for his 31-year-old wife, Edra, who worked as a radiographer and often visited the World Trade Centre.

    As luck would have it she was not there on 11 September, but when she realised what had happened, she raced to his fire station and waited for news. The couple were reunited half-an-hour after he rang to tell her he was safe and that he loved her.

    Mr Kehoe and his wife were alive, but six of his colleagues at the East Village fire station in Manhattan failed to get out of the towers in time.

    The members of Mr Kehoe's crew all survived, but the other crew from the station - Mike Quilty, Rich Kelly, Matt Rogan, Edward Day, Mike Cammarata and John Heffernan - perished.

    Mr Kehoe believes those who survived resent the hero-worship he received for being photographed and he has taken time off work for stress, partly brought on by feeling bad that he does not feel worse.

    He said: "I feel guilty, like I should be having nightmares, or I should be feeling more. I mean, how come I'm happy about surviving?"

    The resentment by other firefighters is strong. A magazine writer preparing a profile received a call saying: "The real hero is not in that picture".

    Things got so tense at the fire station that Lieutenant Jimmy Rallis, a higher-ranking officer, began pulling the men aside.

    "I told them they should stop giving him crap because these photographs have a long history. The guy in the Baby Jessica picture killed himself," says Lt Rallis, referring to a fireman in Texas who pulled a baby from a well in 1987 and committed suicide eight years later. "Mike didn't ask for his picture to be taken, and he doesn't need any more pressure because of it. It scares me."

    His colleagues may not be happy about it, but to many other people, Mr Kehoe is a hero, whether he likes it or not. One obsessed fan - "Judy C from New Hampshire" - wrote almost daily on stationery emblazoned with pink hearts and drove several hours just to see him in the flesh.

    A woman from Australia wrote that her three-year-old son, Laughlin, said his prayers each night to the photo: "You are the face that my son has identified as his hero," she added.

    And a man from Florida wrote, "Your picture helped convey to the world how average Americans have always performed since our beginnings."

    Rosanne Cacciarelli Wise, a teacher who had Mr Kehoe visit her pupils after they raised money for the lost firefighters' relatives, said: "Before 11 September, a hero to these children was Superman on TV. After everything awful that happened, they need some good to come out of it, and he has been that for them the last few months.

    "They need a hero they can see and touch."

    Mr Kehoe, whose father was also a fireman, is struggling to adapt to normal life against a backdrop of extraordinary circumstances.

    He and his colleagues are still attending call-outs in a borrowed vehicle because their own vehicle, Engine 28, was destroyed on 11 September.

    When he gets home, he and Mrs Kehoe wade through the sacks of mail which arrive at his home every day. They keep it in a green bin in their living room, and take it in turns to write the replies.

    On Christmas Eve, Mr Kehoe was featured in the US's prestigious Time magazine. It has been a long three months for the fireman who, as a child, used to run crying whenever he heard the wail of a fire siren.
    IACOJ


  2. #2
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    I'm reserving judgement on this one, hoping to hear from someone from FDNY as to whether or not there is more to this story than is being reported. What do you say guys?
    IACOJ

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    Sounds like a bum deal to me. And that last line sure isn't gonna make it any easier for him. Pretty dumb comment by the author if you ask me!

  4. #4
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    I'm with you on this one. On one hand we have all had the media "bulls-eye" on us at one time or another, on the other, no one can say how this guy was to work with. I think the whole FDNY needs time out of the lime light so they can get there lives back together and try to heal.

    Its time for the vultures to find another target.

  5. #5
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    Regardless of what this guy is like to work with, he didn't pose for that picture, nor did he ask for it to be taken. Should he feel guilty that he survived when others didn't? HELL NO! Should he feel ashamed to say he was afraid for his life or that of his wife? HELL NO!! I'm just curious as to why he would be shunned by his co-workers for any of this.
    You are right Torched Medic, it's time the media left FDNY alone. If what is said here is true, it could definately sway some public opinion to the wrong side.
    IACOJ

  6. #6
    Forum Member DaSharkie's Avatar
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    I must say that I agree with you lady. I can't fault a guy for listening to that little voice inside of him that said "What in the Hell am I doing in this place right now?" Shunning him is a poor way to treat a fellow human being, never mind a fellow firefighter. As it was said, I'm sure there is more to the story as well, since the press is biased and they tend to only pick out the juicy tid-bits of information that add character to a storym not necessarily the subject of the story. At least his Lieutenant seems to have a good head on his shoulders and did what a lieutenant is supposed to do and that is to look after those under his command.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

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  7. #7
    Forum Member Trkco1's Avatar
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    [quote] The members of Mr Kehoe's crew all survived, but the other crew from the station - Mike Quilty, Rich Kelly, Matt Rogan, Edward Day, Mike Cammarata and John Heffernan - perished.


    It was his officers idea to run, not his. If the whole crew survived, someone had to make the decision for them to GTFOT. As far as the feeling guilty and the anger towards him for getting notoriety....both classic symptoms of CIDS.
    FTM-PTB-EGH-RFB-KTF

  8. #8
    FIREMAN 1st GRADE E40FDNYL35's Avatar
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    [quote]Originally posted by Torched Medic:
    I think the whole FDNY needs time out of the lime light so they can get there lives back together and try to heal.



    THANK YOU
    ALL GAVE SOME BUT SOME GAVE ALL
    NEVER FORGET 9-11-01
    343
    CAPT. Frank Callahan Ladder 35 *
    LT. John Ginley Engine 40
    FF. Bruce Gary Engine 40
    FF. Jimmy Giberson Ladder 35
    FF. Michael Otten Ladder 35 *
    FF. Steve Mercado Engine 40 *
    FF. Kevin Bracken Engine 40 *
    FF. Vincent Morello Ladder 35
    FF. Michael Roberts Ladder 35 *
    FF. Michael Lynch Engine 40
    FF. Michael Dauria Engine 40

    Charleston 9
    "If my job was easy a cop would be doing it."
    *******************CLICK HERE*****************

  9. #9
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    When it says "the other crew" am I correct to assume it was another engine/truck crew? Obviously as long as he didn't abandon his crew, I personally don't see anything wrong.

    Are we expected to willingly kill ourselves? As the saying goes "Risk a lot to save a lot."

  10. #10
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    Exactly Trkco1, and rather than being shunned by his co-workers Mr. Kehoe should probably be placed on suicide watch. When cases of "survivors guilt" go to far then that is usually the consequence.

    E40FDNYL35, I can't even come close to imagining what you are all going through. I am however very familiar with the various stages of grief. Your Department has shown it's strength in the face of adversity and abject loss. It would appear that some are moving into the anger phase, a normal transgression, but a dangerous one. Please do not allow this anger to turn in amongst yourselves. No one should feel guilty because they survived. No one should feel guilty because they got there too late. No one should feel guilty because they weren't working that day. Consequently, no one within the Department should be punished or shunned for surviving/not being there/etc.
    Please tread carefully through this time. Wounds inflicted now will last for many years to come. Emotional veneers are eggshell thin and a brotherhood that took years to develop can shatter so easily.
    Maybe it's time that we as a society let the press know enough is enough. It is inevitable that the story direction will eventually turn within FDNY it's self and the effects this tragedy has had on them. I just hope this story deals with how every Firefighter within the Department has bonded together and looked after each other as you have the families of those you lost. It's time to take care of those who are still here.
    My prayers are with you all

    [ 12-28-2001: Message edited by: LadyCapn ]

    IACOJ

  11. #11
    FIREMAN 1st GRADE E40FDNYL35's Avatar
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    [quote]It would appear that some are moving into the anger phase, a normal transgression

    Originally posted by Torched Medic:
    I think the whole FDNY needs time out of the lime light so they can get there lives back together and try to heal.
    ALL GAVE SOME BUT SOME GAVE ALL
    NEVER FORGET 9-11-01
    343
    CAPT. Frank Callahan Ladder 35 *
    LT. John Ginley Engine 40
    FF. Bruce Gary Engine 40
    FF. Jimmy Giberson Ladder 35
    FF. Michael Otten Ladder 35 *
    FF. Steve Mercado Engine 40 *
    FF. Kevin Bracken Engine 40 *
    FF. Vincent Morello Ladder 35
    FF. Michael Roberts Ladder 35 *
    FF. Michael Lynch Engine 40
    FF. Michael Dauria Engine 40

    Charleston 9
    "If my job was easy a cop would be doing it."
    *******************CLICK HERE*****************

  12. #12
    Forum Member rescue10lt's Avatar
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    You know, this goes towards confirming the reality of the situation that the fallout from this incident has many, many levels that are going to effect the people involved for years to come. FF Kehoe has been placed in a situation that was not of his choosing and now he has to deal with it, the best he can. He's as much a victim of circumstance as anything else, and we can only hope that his name isn't added to the roll call of those who give their lives afterwards as a result of this incident, as that is a list that will surely grow. I have pointed out to my crew and to civilians as well, how many of the men and women who paid with their lives that day would do it all again, if they knew now what they couldn't have known then?
    It's a horrific choice to have to make, and a choice that some of us are going to have to make someday. Don't doubt for a minute that the thought wouldn't cross any of our minds the next time the bell rings and you realize it might be the Big One. Civilians have placed the fire service in the Pantheon of heroes, expected to do the impossible while ordinary folks run the other way. We had at least one firefighter that I talked to who quit our department the week after 09/11 because of the new reality of what could happen to us. We walk a fine line between thinking we are invincible and knowing how quickly the situation can deteriorate. All I can do is learn, drill, watch out for my guys, and use my best judgement under the worst of circumstances. I hope FF Kehoe gets the support and counseling he obviously is in need of; IMHO, his only crime was to be in the wrong place in the wrong time. No doubt, this won't sit well with everyone, but I wasn't there so all I can do is support the people that were. Thanks for the moment on the soapbox, I'll get down now.
    Lt. David Walters
    Miami Fire Rescue

  13. #13
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    Angry

    This just goes to prove once again that people can be too quick to jump to conclusions, especially when they get caught up in the sensational frenzy brought on by misinformed media reports. His coworkers shouldn't be angry w/ him, HELL all he did was follow the first rule of firefighting(safety first). He knew he was in a bad situation and he GTFOT! I don't blame him. It's like yall said, he didn't ask to become famous (infamous). The general public shouldn't be mad anyway, there the ones that started all this BS in the first place! In my opinion he is a hero just by doing his job that day!

    keep em safe & keep em wet!

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    i think this guy is getting a bum deal when i look at this picture he is in the building when he is supposed to be i'm glad he got out alive as should all of his brother firefighters he was just on duty doing his job he didn't asked for this picture to be shown all over the world and so what if he is some hero to some kid whats wrong with that as far as his fellow workers shuning him i say get a grip hasn,t enough happen to the new your fire dept and this country i don't blame him for having enough sense when he felt it was time to get out i would have done the same thing and so would have all the rest of the men had they the chance so lets give the guy a break you are a hero mike at least you went in to help unlike others who were going the other way it's not your fault i think he used good judgement he's alive to tell about it isn't he look firefighters are human too they are not god they do there best but hey if things get to bad in a situation he did what every man would have done try and save lives and also yourself .let me ask this so if he would have been killed that day now would he be a hero to his fellow firefighters

  15. #15
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    LADYCAPN

    Captains must think alike. I also read the story and said...Has to be more to this. I also have no exact realization of what our brothers and sisters in FDNY are experiencing.

    However,,,,Firefighter Kehoe was photographed by chance and it is not his fault. We need to stick by him and help him through not shun him and suicide watch and CISD counseling are well within necessary list of thing to do.

    WE are all a team...lets stick together now as the real impact of this tragedy begins to hammer itself home...
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  16. #16
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    Angry

    For all of the firefighters that are shunning Mike Kehoe...Where were they when the towers were hit? They were not there obviously, nor were they there when the towers fell. and if they were, why did they survive? Whomevers decision it was to get out, it was made and that is the past, and there is nothing that anyone can do to change that. As far as shunning another brother for doing his number one instinct (Safety First) Why? What did they do that he did not, I know that I was not there 9-11, but I would say there is something more to the story than we are being told, but reguardless, your brothers and sisters are the number one resource/life line when it hits the fan, not to mention your family...I just do not agree with the story, nor do I agree with what is happening with FF Kehoe. I do wish him, FDNY, and the rest of you the best. Stay safe and Stay low!
    Your Brother in Fire,<br />R.C.<br />RFB-FDNY

  17. #17
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    Settle down...settle down...settle down.

    Too little information, too much speculation.

    As the man from 40 & 35 pointed out, the full range of emotions is present in every firehouse on any given day. Any attempt to speculate on the happenings at 28 & 11 borders on disrespectful.

    Any and all business related to that house and their troubles is THEIR business. None of us has the right to pass judgement or take sides. When you work a tour there or otherwise live their lives, then the truth will become apparent.

    Just remember that although things may be relatively back to normal in your neighborhood, the brothers downtown are still living the nightmare. The number of members that are still unrecovered is staggering. The glare of the media is ever-present. All the while, the men are just trying to get their lives back and take care of business for the missing and lost at the same time.

    Working in another borough leaves me slightly insulated from the daily grind, but we have spent a significant amount of time covering tours in downtown houses, so that these brothers can organize and attend funerals, memorials and Christmas parties for the families. All I can tell you is that none of us has the right to speculate as to what they are feeling or to question their actions in any situation.

    I look at their faces and watch their actions and I feel a guilt that sticks around for days. Even though we are all in the same job, I can't help feeling that these brothers are carrying all of us on their shoulders. I owe them my unquestioned loyalty for what they have done for my job and myself. You owe them no less.

    I can tell you this, because I know this job. That brother will not be left alone. I refuse to accept the opinion of a writer that has never crawled down the hallway. If the brothers in that house have a problem with him it will NEVER interfere with his ability to get help when he needs it. I can almost guarantee that the situation has been grossly embelished from a small "kitchen nugget" that this hack got his hands on.

    Printing this story at this time does nothing but make the situation worse. If he really gave a sh*t he would have kept his mouth shut. Being allowed into a house and then airing the dirty laundry you stumble upon is the worst form of betrayal. We have a saying in this job:

    what you do here
    what you see here
    what you hear here
    when you leave here
    let it stay here

    Much like the "brawl" at the WTC between the cops and the brothers, the media is taking a small morsel and running with it. When that thing happened, people on this board were "outraged" and "embarrassed" at our actions when they truthfully had no idea what took place that day or under what conditions it did happen.

    Don't let that happen again here and now. The only people you hurt in the process are the brothers you all have supported so strongly.

  18. #18
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    I Second SouthBronx . Enough Said....

    HAPPY NEW YEAR ALL

    STAY LOW - STAY SAFE

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    Thank you for your response SouthBronx. As I originally stated, I reserve judgement until I hear the facts, I was afraid that he was being shunned for something similar to an earlier post.

    You had posted not to long ago about resenting those who took advantage of being at Ground Zero, and the newspaper articles showing their pictures and spouting their stories. I was afraid that was the reason that Mr. Kehoe was having difficulty with his co-workers. If that was the case, then I would have to strongly disagree with that perception. I still vividly remember seeing that picture numerous times, and each time I was struck with the irony of thousands of people rushing down the stairs while a lone firefighter trudges up. To me, that picture held almost as much reverence as the Flag raising. Not for the individual, but the Job itself, and was the epitomy of the sacrifices we make for those we serve. Are the 3 gentlemen who raised the flag resented? I would hope not, and for the same reason. I remember reading a report of a firefighter who survived when his company perished because he had "fallen behind" and was therefore a few flights closer to the ground and able to escape when the time came. I pray that he has the support and counsel of his brothers.

    There must be some truth to the story, as his Lt. confirms the necessity of speaking to some of his co-workers. I truly hope it is an exaggeration on the part of the reporter.

    I applaud your committment to seeing that FF Kehoe receives the support he will need in the coming months/years, and hope every other Firefighter involved can work through whatever is necessary to survive this trauma. As rescue10Lt pointed out, too often more names are added to the final role call after the tragic event because of guilt, media attention etc.

    Terrorism has claimed enough victims. Please don't let anger, resentment, and misunderstanding claim any more.
    FDNY still has my full support and prayers.
    IACOJ

  20. #20
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    Sorry to add another reply but I forgot one item I wanted to address in my previous, long-winded message.

    A few of you have mentioned that the brother in question "ran for his life" or "listened to the voice in his head" or "GTFOT" or "followed the first rule: safety". I can assure you, that is not the issue here. Kehoes mention of "running" is probably nothing more than his guilty feelings and frustration coming out. How many times have you claimed to have not done enough at a job, when things don't turn out the way you want them to? Certainly each member in this job has their own guilty feelings from that day... some worse than others.

    This man was a part of a company and his actions that day were dictated by the officer in charge. They entered and left the building either by the orders of that officer or the orders of a chief officer. To characterize Kehoe as "running" is not fair and certainly not accurate. By all accounts, the members that did evacuate did so in a manner that assisted additional civilians in escaping safely, not in a mad dash for their lives.

    As for the other members from his house that died, they were members of the other company and were surely together at another location in the towers. Their deaths are certainly not the responsibility of Fr. Kehoe or any of his brothers at 28 Engine.

    As I stated previously, the nature of this incident is almost certainly the result of the subsequent press AND the way it was handled by those involved. I would be shocked to hear of a member blaming another member for being alive... especially in the situation it appears Fr. Kehoe was in.

    Brothers have had "discussions" with one another regarding the media and the way that individual members choose to embrace or disregard its attention. Conflicts like this almost certainly arise from raw emotion and the strain of the incredible stress that they are facing daily... FOR OVER THREE MONTHS.

    The mention of the LT pulling members aside is meaningless. That could be simply a "lay off of him" suggestion. Lord knows I have received several of those for ball-breaking over the years.

    I have mixed emotions about this discussion for several reasons. Normally, we would not say some of the things I have said here, regarding the WTC itself and the firehouse in the days afterwards. I certainly was not with 28 & 11 that day, nor have I lived there in the days that followed. I am simply trying to defend my brothers against a misguided and surely inaccurate representation in the media.

    I mean no offense to my brothers there, nor to any of you here. I only want the ACCURATE story to come out. I base my opinions and statements on my knowledge of this job that, outside of my children, has been my entire adult life. This is the greatest department in the world and the brothers here deserve better than this article is giving them. I know that the brothers at 28 & 11 would do the same for me.

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