In the aftermath of 9/11, hundreds of firefighters combed through the rubble of the World Trade Center, searching for survivors, and then victims.
Firefighter Daniel Foley’s search was even more heart-wrenching. He was searching for his older brother, also a firefighter. After 11 days, Daniel found the body of 32-year-old Thomas, who died battling the blaze.
Now almost 19 years later, the horrors of 9/11 have claimed another life — that of Daniel himself. The retired 21-year FDNY veteran lost his battle with pancreatic cancer, an illness tied to his time spent at Ground Zero. Daniel Foley was 46.
Before the memorial service this past weekend at Rescue 3, FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said, “The attacks on the World Trade Center have claimed yet another brave member of our Department, and the Foley family. Daniel Foley, like his brother Thomas who was killed on September 11th, dedicated his life to rescuing others. We will never forget them.”
On the day of the 9/11 attacks, Thomas Foley was serving at Rescue 3 in the Bronx ,while Daniel had been working at ladder 49.
Although Daniel wasn’t assigned to recovery efforts with Rescue Co. 3, he came back every day after finding his brother. He dedicated himself to recovering the bodies of those killed in the tragedy until recovery efforts at Ground Zero officially ended in May 2002.
In his brother’s honor, Daniel eventually transferred to Rescue 3.
Members of the unit crowded into the Bronx firehouse for the memorial service, and stood in front of a plaque honoring Thomas, and the seven other firefighters from Rescue 3 who died battling the inferno.
Danny was a decorated firefighter. Throughout his 21-year-career, Danny received 10 citations for bravery, four of them as an individual and six with his unit.
A visibly shaken Lt. Mickey Conboy of Rescue 3 said, “Danny’s mark didn’t stop here in the firehouse or at work. Danny was first and foremost a great fireman, but he was a great man before that, and a great father, a great husband to his wife Carrie, and of five loving children that he leaves behind.”
The family will continue the work they started with the Firefighter Thomas J. Foley Memorial Scholarship Fund. It was set up after Thomas’ death to provide scholarships to dependent children of either active or retired FDNY firefighters or officers.
In a statement Sunday night, the family said “Danny never (lost) sight of the importance of advocating for those who continue to suffer as a result of the events of September 11th, 2001,” adding: “We must never forget the sacrifices made that day by so many, and those who continue to sacrifice.”
Amen. We’re right there with you.