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  • 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
    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

    Comment


    • #3
      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!
      try it you'll like it

      Comment


      • #4
        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.

        Comment


        • #5
          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

          Comment


          • #6
            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

            The borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 - Debt free since 10/5/2009.

            "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." - New York Judge Gideon Tucker

            "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government." - Dave Barry

            www.daveramsey.com www.clarkhoward.com www.heritage.org

            Comment


            • #7
              [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

              Comment


              • #8
                [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*****************

                Comment


                • #9
                  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."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    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

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      [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*****************

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        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

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          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!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            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

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              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.

                              Comment

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