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Firefighter Joseph Maffeo

Ladder 101, FDNY

Firefighter Maffeo'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

There was always a project under way when Joseph Maffeo, T.J. Beinert and Robert Melloy got together. Which was pretty much always.

As teenagers, the friends spent a summer cruising Staten Island in a Cadillac they made into a convertible by sawing off the roof.

Mr. Maffeo was the handyman. "He always had the right nut or the right bolt," Mr. Beinert said. As a firefighter, Mr. Maffeo, 30, was called Joey Pockets because he sewed so many onto his bunker gear to make room for gadgets.

He carried a black duffel bag with rope, gloves, water and a can of tuna. Just in case.

That is why his wife, Linda, kept hoping, even after many other missing firefighter's wives had given up on any hope that their husbands would survive.

"Joey's got his tuna and water," Mrs. Maffeo, 26, had said. "Joey's probably rationing it out," the wife of another firefighter at Ladder Co. 101 in Red Hook, Brooklyn, had added. The Maffeos, who have a 1-year- old son, Christopher Joseph, met while she was working as a bank teller. He asked her out. She agreed.

"I wouldn't usually do that," Mrs. Maffeo said. "You know when you can look at someone and tell they're a sweetheart?"

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 4, 2001.
Information courtesy of the Remember 9/11/2001 memorial site on


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