Firefighter Robert (Bobby) Hamilton epitomized a South Bronx fireman, friends and FDNY colleagues Would tell you.
He stood over 6 feet and was a strapping 230 pounds. Always ready with a bright smile, the square-jawed Hamilton would watch the block from a chair in front of the Squad 41 firehouse, a special operations unit on East 150th Street-a tough Bronx neighborhood.
Hamilton was one of six firefighters from the elite outfit that perished during the terrorist attacks. The entire company responded to the Trade Center and died that day.
In between fires, Hamilton would fill the tires of bicycles belonging to local kids or place a sprinkler cap on a fire hydrant to cool them off on a hot summer day.
On Thanksgiving Day, he was always eager to cook over at Immaculate Conception Church in the South Bronx. He was known as “a man who knew his way through the city streets.”
Michael K. Healey‚ 42‚ lieutenant‚ FDNY‚ Rescue Squad 41, South Bronx. Mike Healey was an accomplished 18-year veteran of the FDNY. He was on the job since May of 1983. Mike grew up in the Long Island town of Massapequa Park‚ where he and his wife met as teenagers. He was married for 20 years and the couple have three children. I have fond memories of Mike since we grew up together in the same neighborhood of Massapequa Park. Mike was my lacrosse coach when I was around 12 years old. When Healey wasn’t fighting fires‚ he coached lacrosse‚ ran distance races‚ and never minded handling the household chores at the family’s Long Island home.
On September 11‚ he wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else. That’s what he did. ‘That’s our job‚’ he would have said.
“Ski” as the brothers and I referred to him. He had the greatest smile. He was a hardcore Harley Davidson man and an awesome mechanic. He worked on all of our cars at the fire house. I have a fond memory of Ski under the hood of my car listening to my engine with a stethoscope. He fixed my car later in the day using that scope.
Mike Lyons was simply a great guy! Mike, Greg and Tommy all came to 41 around the same time. These guys were just the kind of guys that fit right in. They were dedicated, fun, tough as nails and composed when the shit hit the fan at a fire!
Mike was only 32 years old, but he had the heart of a longtime fire fighting veteran.
Bruce VanHine: Bruce got on the job a little late. He was almost 40, but like most of us, it was a lifelong calling.
Bruce was an avid outdoorsman and skilled tree surgeon. He lived a little further out in the country than most of us. He loved to joke that he lived in a trailer deep in the woods…
Bruce could climb trees like most people climb stairs. When you arrived at a fire and saw Bruce headed to the roof, you knew you were going to be able to push super hard into the fire!
Bruce was going to take that saw, ventilate the heat smoke out of the building from the roof…lightning fast.