LAST SALUTE FOR FIRE HERO

By GEORGETT ROBERTS and ADAM MILLER


April 21, 2002 --

Hundreds of friends, family and a sea of New York's Bravest packed a Queens church yesterday to say goodbye to fallen fire Lt. Kevin Dowdell, remembering him as a "great guy" who lived for his family and fighting fires.
During an emotional funeral Mass at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Breezy Point, Dowdell's son, Patrick, 19, eulogized his 46-year-old father as a man who "had a natural need to help people."

"He was more than just a father, he was a teacher, mentor and my best friend," said Patrick, his voice choked with emotion.

"He taught us that family was the most important thing and he proved it by doing anything he could for us. What I'm going to miss most is the little things."

Dowdell, a decorated 20-year FDNY veteran assigned to Rescue Co. 4 in Astoria, Queens, died saving lives at the World Trade Center disaster.

FDNY Lt. Timothy Kelly, a close friend, said Dowdell, a former Marine who served in the Persian Gulf War, was "cheerful, dignified, good-natured and courageous."

Rescue Co. 4 Fire Capt. Paul Heglund said Dowdell, also a former NYPD cop, "will be missed, but won't ever be forgotten."

Dowdell adored his wife of 21 years, Rose Ellen, and two kids - his other son, James, 17, plans to follow his father's footsteps into the FDNY.

Dowdell, who worked a second job as a carpenter, even learned to play bass drum so he could play with his sons' band.

Dowdell's friend, James Moschetto said the victim was a pillar of his firehouse and his Breezy Point community.



http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/45995.htm