Firefighter Nurtured Many Talents

Dec. 27, 2001

He climbed mountains in the remote southern tip of South America.

He served in the Marines for five years, earning a dozen medals and awards.

He drew nudes in charcoal. He organized a petition drive to save a Bronx park. He was writing a novel.

And Christian Regenhard, 28, apparently died Sept. 11 while helping a fellow firefighter in a lobby at the World Trade Center.

Relatives call Regenhard a modern-day Renaissance man. "Nobody knew how much he had accomplished," said sister Christina Regenhard.

Regenhard, a bachelor who lived in the Bronx, worked as a firefighter for just six weeks. He was still on new-hire probation.

He joined the fire department the same day his father, Det. Sgt. Al Regenhard, retired from the police department.

His friends seldom mingled. Artistic pals didn't know he served in the Marines. Military buddies didn't know he wrote short stories.

Even so, he helped friends develop their own long-ignored interests, maybe encouraging them to take up kayaking. Perhaps painting.

"People thought they had to be a certain kind of person," Christina said. "And then they met him."

--Fred Carroll (Daily Press)