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Firefighter Michael Paul Ragusa

Engine 279, FDNY

Firefighter Ragusa'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

Michael Paul Ragusa was not a mountain climber, a sculptor, a scholar. He was not anything like that, his loved ones say. Being a fireman was enough for him. "He did things to make others happy," said his fiancée, Jennifer Trapani. "That's how he made himself happy."

Mike Ragusa, 29, joined the Fire Department nearly two years ago. He was assigned to Engine Company 250, but was working at Engine Company 279 on Sept. 11.

He was single-minded, said his sister, Christine Saladeen. "If we all lined up outside the World Trade Center and yelled, 'Mikey stop!,' he still would have ran in."

When word of Firefighter Ragusa's disappearance percolated through his neighborhood of Bergen Beach, Brooklyn, dozens of people camped out on his parents' lawn, on their patio furniture and on their living room floor. Strangers who did not know his name came by with fruit baskets to tell of how he helped fix their fences or change their tires.

He may not have been a sculptor, but he was a plumber, and if a friend's pipe burst at midnight, he was there. He may not have been a scholar, but he was a good man. His friends had a saying about him — W.W.M.D.: What Would Mikey Do?

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 25, 2001.
Information courtesy of the Remember 9/11/2001 memorial site on


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