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

Firefighter Eugene Whelan

Engine 230, FDNY

Firefighter Whelan'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

"He was no saint!" said Eugene Whelan's mother, Joan, her laughter bubbling up. "Yeah, he could be a giant pain!" her husband, Alfred, added, chuckling about the ninth of their 10 children.

But examples eluded them.

While Firefighter Whelan, 31, undoubtedly jettisoned saint eligibility at some Rockaway pub or Grateful Dead concert — a captain called him "the king of fun" — he was still terrific. He kept extra winter jackets in his Jeep in case he spotted a shivering homeless person. He was a persistent serial hugger, spreading those burly embraces known as "Eugene hugs."

He was a Mr. Fix-it and human Velcro to kids. In Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, the neighborhood served by Engine Company 230, children would arrive at the firehouse with broken bicycles for Firefighter Whelan to make whole.

During a school visit, he asked why one child was left in the bus. The child was paralyzed, a teacher replied. Mr. Whelan carried the child to the fire truck. "He understood what life was really about," said his father, "so we feel pretty good about him."

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 23, 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