I am always reluctant to speak for Rick. He was so articulate and intelligent. I know that whatever I say about this, Rick would have said it better. Rick’s death on 9-11 was his last heroic act in a life filled with heroic acts. But there were many, many other heroes that day. Among them were Wesley Mercer, Jorge Velazquez, and Godwin Forde – Rick’s deputies. They followed Rick back up those stairs into the flaming tower, attempting a final sweep for survivors, and perished with him when the building came down. I cannot find the words to acknowledge their courage, loyalty, and devotion to duty.
Rick had a special affection for the FDNY Firefighters. After the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, Rick stayed in the smoldering building for 12 hours, helping the firefighters rescue the trapped and injured. From that day on, he loved those guys. He admired their courage and professionalism. I can say this with every certainty – Rick was proud to die in their company.