Army Marine Corp Navy Air Force Coast Guard Police Firefighters Citizen Heroes

Firefighter Thomas M. Butler

Squad 1, FDNY

Firefighter Butler's Act of Heroism

Over 400 first responders lost their lives on September 11, 2001. Heroically performing their sworn duty, these firefighters, members of the NYPD and PAPD, and numerous other rescue workers will forever be remembered for their sacrifice.

My Hero

Thomas Butler liked to say that in a former life, he must have been a pirate. You could not keep him off the water.

His life basically was fire and water. He was a firefighter with Squad 1 in Brooklyn, and he had a part-time job as the bay constable in Smithtown, N.Y. The bay constable job allowed him to be out on the water a lot, and he was entranced by water and its calming effect. Not that he needed calming down. He was the epitome of the laid-back man. "He was my rock," said his wife, Martha. "We'd get bills and they would give me ulcers, and he'd say, 'Don't worry about it, the bills will be there tomorrow.'" In some respects, he could be too laid back. "The grass could grow six feet, and it didn't bother him," Mrs. Butler said. "I'd try to get him to do it, and he'd say, 'The grass'll be there tomorrow.'"

Firefighter Butler, 37, lived in Kings Park, N.Y., with his wife and three children, Kelly, 4, Shawn, 6, and Patrick, 8 months.

Patrick was christened on Sept. 9, and Firefighter Butler wanted to have a big party. Mrs. Butler was getting her usual ulcers about the cost. He insisted. He wanted to buy a suit for the occasion. Her reaction was, "Tom, do you really need a suit?" He got the suit. They had the party. "I'm so glad we did it," Mrs. Butler said, "because everyone was there and everyone got to see Tom that last time."

Patrick was killed on 09/11/01 in the attacks on the World Trade Center in NYC.

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 26, 2001.
Information courtesy of the Remember 9/11/2001 memorial site on


Our Mission

Board of Directors

Honorary Board

General Burwell B. Bell, U.S. Army (Retired) General Richard Cody Rear Admiral Robert C. Crates, SC, USNR (Retired) Charlie-Daniels Julie Gold Kelsey Grammer Jamie Huysman The Judds John Ondrasik Geraldo Rivera Marlon Shirley General Charles F. Wald, USAF (Ret) Past Honorary Board Members

Financial Advisors


Decorative Leather Books FedEx Corporation Google Adwords Humana The Juilliard School KnightVision Photography Original Oil Portraits Steinway & Sons TechKnowSys US Engineering White House Advertising & Design 55 Productions

Search by Hero Last Name


Enter your email address to receive special notices, announcements and related information

We do not share, rent or sell email addresses