January 13, 2002

Gerard T. Nevins: Fireman and Farmer

Gerard T. Nevins lived a life of sweet contradictions. His primary job was fighting fires. But when he was not pulling people from burning buildings, he was tending to his small farm in the backyard of his house in Campbell Hall, N.Y.

"It was a way he could totally disconnect from all the madness of Manhattan," his brother Stephen Nevins said. "He would just make his way through the community every day as if he was just a farmer."

In his neighborhood, people recognized Firefighter Nevins, 46, as the man who raised pigs, goats and chickens and sold fresh eggs. He was also known as a doting father to Daniel, 7, and Andrew, 5.

Among the men at Rescue 1 in Midtown Manhattan, Firefighter Nevins was a keeper of traditional values. He was an 18-year veteran of the department who vehemently opposed ordering take-out food because he thought that cooking together helped to cement the brothers' bond.

To his wife Marie, Firefighter Nevins was simply a devoted husband, whom she fell in love with at first sight in 1979. "It was just one of those things where he looked at me, and I melted and that was it," she said. "It was that way for the next 20 years."