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Watch: Firefighter Thomas Foley – FDNY Rescue 3 – my memory of a hero

Firefighter Thomas Foley - Youtube
Firefighter Thomas Foley – Youtube

Back when I was working at the country station, we used to host concerts every Thursday afternoon in the Austin J Tobin Plaza at the World Trade Center.

One of the regulars was a guy whose cohorts at Rescue 3 in the Bronx used to call “cowboy”, for his love of country music, bull riding, and the cowboy lifestyle.
Just before the shows, we had someone go around with a tape recorder to record members of the crowd saying, “Hi I’m _______, and I am New Country!” to be used as “promos” for the radio station.

One of those who was only happy to record one was Thomas Foley of FDNY Rescue 3.

Actually we’d all gotten to know Tom sometime back before the memory of 9/11 was seared into our collective consciousness. It turned out he’d been featured in a People Magazine expose of the sexiest firemen in the country. I remember distinctly the day he stopped by the radio station to talk about the photo spread; after which he left us a number of “Rescue 3” tee shirts.

Friendliest, most humble guy you’d ever want to meet.

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As fate would have it, he was one of the first to respond that day; and was one of the first to be unaccounted for.

I knew he was missing when one of his brother firefighters from Rescue 3 called the station crying, telling me that a particular firefighter who they used to call “cowboy” wasn’t to be found.

It hit me that it was Tom, and the feeling was like being punched in the stomach!

Through his tears, the firefighter asked me to play “Beaches of Cheyenne” by Garth Brooks in his memory.

I’m sure you may know someone who perished on that day. A friend, relative, acquaintance.

Someone for whom it was just another day of work.

And someone else who’s sole mission was dedicated to saving the lives of those innocents when the bell rang!

“Cowboy”, along with his many brothers who lost their lives, never shied away from the dangers they faced on any given day!

This is written in his memory.

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