#September11-Welles Crowther aka The Man In The Red Bandana

#September11-Welles Crowther aka The Man In The Red Bandana

#September11-Welles Crowther aka The Man In The Red Bandana

There were so many profiles in courage on 9/11/2001 it was hard to choose which one to remember. I was inspired by one man who became, like so many others, an unlikely hero that day. He wasn’t a policeman or a firefighter though-he was a 24 year old securities trader and former junior firefighter. When United Airlines Flight 175 struck the South Tower of the World Trade Center, he called his mother from his office and left a short message to let her know that he was ok. Then, he went down to the 78th floor sky lounge and proceeded to calmly and authoritatively direct survivors to the stairway. He led a large group of them down 15 floors, while carrying an injured woman over his shoulder. He dropped the woman he had carried down those fifteen flights with the other survivors and made his way back up to the upper floors, this time wearing a red bandana over his nose to protect his lungs from the growing smoke and haze in the building.

Welles Crowther is remembered with his ever present red bandana

As the morning went on, so did Crowther’s rescue missions. He helped put out fires and gave first aid and told those who could stand to help others. According to one survivor who witnessed his actions that fateful day:

“People can live 100 years and not have the compassion, the wherewithal to do what he did.”

He was last seen running back into the building with members of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) before the South Tower fell at 9:59 a.m. His body was found in March of 2002,  with the bodies of several first responders who appeared to have gathered in a suspected command post in the South Tower. His body was found intact, with no evidence of burns giving his family the peace of knowing that he may have died without suffering the fate so many others endured that day.

One of the women Crowther helped save, Long Young

There is even a documentary about his heroic actions, you can see it below.

Inspired by their son’s courage, his parents began a foundation to help others in his memory, dubbing it the Red Bandana Foundation. The foundation recognizes excellence in young men and women who achieve excellence in their communities via academics and athletics.

Firefighter Jake LaFierriere, the first Red Bandana Hero Award Winner

This year, the first Red Bandana Hero award, created to “acknowledge the ultimate, everyday hero who exemplifies the American spirit and defines us as a nation” will be awarded to Minneapolis firefighter Jake LaFerriere during a live football broadcast on ESPN this September 18th. LaFerriere earned this special award by visiting children in the burn unit where he was recovering  from 3rd and 4th degree burns after being burned in a backdraft accident. He also founded Firefighters for Healing  which offers burn victims and their families support in ways that others cannot. They give money for reconstructive surgeries, replace items that were lost in fires and support summer camp for youth burn victims.

As is asked in the short documentary earlier in this post, what if you had one hour left of your life? How would you spend it? What would it look like? Welles Crowther made sure his last hour was well spent, and at least twelve people are alive today because of that.

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