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

Firefighter Martin McWilliams

Engine 22, FDNY

Firefighter McWilliams'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 are men who are handy around the house, and then there was Martin McWilliams. At age 4, he grabbed a screwdriver from his father's toolbox -- correctly choosing a Phillips head -- and dismantled the neighbors' storm door. When he grew up, there was no stopping him from tiling kitchens, installing new windows and siding, or putting up wallpaper. "He could do just about everything," said his mother, Mary, said. "He was always ready to help."

Mr. McWilliams, 35, a firefighter with Engine Company 22 on the Upper East Side, had many other talents. He knew his way around cars and left behind several, including a 1963 Mustang, at his mother's house in Kings Park, N.Y. He was a fine skier and an accomplished cook, whose chicken francese was a family favorite.

But there was one skill Mr. McWilliams lacked. "He could appreciate a joke, but he could never tell one," said his younger sister, Lynn McWilliams. "He would always mess up the punch line."

Toward the end of Mr. McWilliams's life, he became a father for the first time. The baby, Sara, is now six months old. "I'm in love with her," he used to tell his family.

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 8, 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