Lost Helping One of His Own

September 15, 2001

Fire Lt. Glenn Wilkinson had just ordered his company, Brooklyn's Engine 238, out of the lobby of the crumbling World Trade Center's Tower Two Tuesday morning when he took a roll call and discovered someone was missing.

"He gave a mayday and he ordered his company to move to a safe location and he returned to the building," Wilkinson's widow, Margaret, recalled yesterday. "And he didn't make it back."

The body of the 46-year-old Bayport resident and father of three - a 14-year veteran of the New York City Fire Department - was recovered early Wednesday, ending a day of uncertainty for Margaret, whose first fears watching the news on television that morning were only for other victims and for the horrors her husband would have to bring home with him.

"My thoughts were, 'They are from Brooklyn, they can't possibly be in the midst of it,'" she said Friday, standing in a house full of family and neighbors who had come to bring food and run errands and keep the three Wilkinson children from thinking too much about what had just happened to their family.

Margaret Mackey Wilkinson, a teacher's assistant in special education at Blue Point Avenue Elementary School, worked all day Tuesday and came home to an answering machine with 16 messages on it. "I skipped and skipped and skipped through them hoping to hear his voice," she said. There were no messages from him.

But there will be plenty of memories of bike rides and basketball and father-daughter dances to comfort Wilkinson's children, Kelsie, 13, Craig, 12, and Kevin, 8, as they grow. Wilkinson jogged regularly and the boys had recently started to join him on his runs, his wife recalled. When he came home at night, he'd be summoned to the bedroom of straight-A student Kelsie and be on the rug helping her work out math problems.

"He was very, very loving," Margaret said. "The thing he loved best in life was being a dad."

--Elizabeth Moore (Newsday)