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Brian Hickey
Age: 47
Occupation: Rescue 1 Squad, Captain
Worked for: FDNY
Originally from:
Resided in: Bethpage, NY
Submitted by: Irish Tribute ()

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From NY Times Dec 18, 2001

'Brian Hickey: Unspoken Devotion'

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here is no telling how many New Yorkers are walking around because Capt. Brian Hickey became a New York City firefighter 20 years ago. He commanded Rescue Company 4, which rushes to every major fire in Queens, not to fight flames, but to save trapped civilians and firefighters.

It has always been among the department's most dangerous jobs. Two of his men were killed in Astoria last Father's Day, and another died with him at 2 World Trade Center on Sept. 11.

Yet the 47-year-old captain, who had suffered burns and other injuries many times on the job, never dwelled on the dangers. Instead, he spoke with pride of the brotherhood (women included) of firefighters.

"It means they are ready to lay down their lives for one another," his wife, Donna, said. "They all knew it. It was something unspoken among them."

He was also a volunteer firefighter in Bethpage, N.Y., where he grew up, married his high school sweetheart and had four children: Danny, 23; Dennis, 18; Jaclyn, 16; and Kevin, 10.

In 1992, Captain Hickey and his only brother, Raymond, created "Brothers in Battle," a 45-minute video documentary about firefighting. It is still used in training.

In 1993, Raymond died of cancer. "Brian was at his side for 11 months," Mrs. Hickey recalled. "I've never seen such love and compassion."
-- Anon (Friend { })
18 Jan 2002

From NY Daily News, March 11, 2002

For six months, every member of the Hickey family has been jolted by the ringing of the phone.

The call, which they pray for even as they dread it, could be from members of Rescue 4 saying they have finally found their captain, Brian Hickey.

Fire Captain Brian Hickey's wife, Donna (l.), views stained glass held by his father, Raymond, who created it, in Bethpage, L.I., home.
But until that call comes, the Hickey family does not plan to hold a memorial service.

"When they tell me it's quitting time, then I'll do what I have to do," Hickey's widow, Donna Hickey, said last week. "I felt from the beginning he deserves the highest honor. If that means I have to wait, then I'll wait.

"You're just waiting for the worst day of your life to come."

Of the 343 FDNY members who died Sept. 11, the bodies of 194 have not been found; 21 of their families have not held a memorial service.

Letting go of her high school sweetheart will not be easy for Donna Hickey. She and her children, Daniel, 23, Dennis, 18, and Jackie, 16, long for the familiar.

The way Brian's duffel bag smelled of smoke when he came home from his Woodside, Queens, firehouse. Or the way he sang "Mack the Knife" as loud as he could every time he heard the tune. The way he danced with his daughter at her Sweet 16 party to "Lady in Red."

"We were so blessed to have him," Donna said.

Promoted Posthumously

Nicknamed The Nucleus because of the way people were drawn to him in dangerous situations, Brian Hickey, a 20-year veteran of the FDNY, was posthumously promoted to battalion chief after Sept. 11.

He was among 14 firefighters injured battling a blaze caused by an explosion at a Queens hardware store Father's Day. Three firefighters died.

He and four of his men were hurtled into the ceiling and buried in bricks. Hickey led his men to safety by following a sliver of light through the dust and pulverized mortar.
-- Anon (Friend { })
11 Mar 2002

{contd from NY Daily News}

Then he went back into the burning building to join those frantically digging through the debris for the missing firefighters.

"I went right back to work," Brian recalled in a TV interview in the days after the blast. "I had some aches and pains, but we have to, we need to, get our brothers out and that's the tradition of the city Fire Department. We don't leave without them."

Now the men of Rescue 4 and Rescue 3 B who were with Brian on Sept. 11 B are refusing to leave Ground Zero without their captain. Some have even begun saying one of his favorite lines, "Strength of Heart," a motto taken from the movie "Glory."

Sons' Room a Shrine

Brian had borrowed the line from his brother Ray, a film producer who died of cancer in 1992 at age 34, shortly after a movie the siblings made together B "FDNY: Brothers in Battle" B aired on the Arts & Entertainment cable channel.

Ray Hickey Sr., 72, has turned his sons' childhood bedroom in Bethpage, L.I., into a shrine. The walls are filled with pictures of them as boys, and as men.

In the center of the room is a steel cross, welded by firefighters from a beam found at Ground Zero.

"I'm still a rich man," their father said. "I was richer, I have to say that, but I'm still rich. I have a wonderful family."

Three weeks after the attacks, Hickey's parents went to Ground Zero, wearing hardhats with their son's name.

"It was our own personal funeral," said Florence Hickey, 80. "As a mother, you are always waiting for your children. Now I'm waiting for Brian."

The parents take solace in their memories, like the night Brian told his father how grateful he was be a city firefighter.

"I told him, 'Son, someday you will be a chief on this job, and you'll have a plaque on your desk reading, 'BC BC Hickey' because his middle name was Christopher so it would be Battalion Chief Brian Christopher Hickey," his father said.

When his son was promoted posthumously, the senior Hickey had the plaque made. "He earned it," his father said. "But he never saw it."
-- Anon (Friend { })
11 Mar 2002

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