Bloomberg extends city's sympathy to family

Copyright 2002 Daily News, L.P.
Daily News (New York)...05/07/2002


A veteran New York City fireman was remembered as a hero and selfless mentor at services at a church in Carmel, Putnam County, yesterday as the grief of Sept. 11 continues.

"Heroes never set out to be heroes," Mayor Bloomberg told more than 500 mourners at the funeral of Firefighter Daniel Harlin. "Each loved their life as we do and each had plans for a long life."

Then, looking at Harlin's wife, Debra, sitting with the couple's three young children, the mayor offered the city's condolences.

"It's really hard to find the words to express our gratitude," Bloomberg said. "We have to look at your three children and make a better future."

Daniel Harlin, 40, a member of the midtown high-rise unit and one of nine firefighters from his E. 51st St. firehouse who perished in the World Trade Center attacks, was known by the moniker Tough Guy.

This was fitting, say colleagues who remember Harlin for his sense of humor and his penchant for doling out nicknames.

Yesterday's tearful farewell took place in St. James the Apostle Catholic Church, beside tranquil Lake Gleneida.

On a peaceful spring morning, the service seemed far away in time and place from the searing tragedy that killed 343 members of the FDNY.

As 3-year-old Brian Harlin fidgeted with a "Rugrats" comic book and an Etch-A-Sketch toy, the Rev. Joseph Faraone recalled another tragedy, in which a mother told her daughter that "Daddy wasn't coming home and that Daddy is in God's hands now."

In God's hands

The girl then asked her mother, "Does God have enough hands?" according to the priest's story.

"God does have enough hands," Faraone went on. "His heart and hands are large for all of us. . . . If Danny were here, he would tell us, 'Bury my body, but don't bury my beliefs.' "

A memorial service for Harlin was held in January. Yesterday's funeral was scheduled after his remains were found in March.

Harlin lived in Kent Lakes, Putnam County. He played ice hockey and was an outdoorsman and an expert hunter with a bow and arrow. He was also, friends said, someone you'd want at your side when the going got tough.

"If you had to go to a fire, you knew you had a top guy to watch over you," Firefighter John Carbone recalled.

Besides his wife and son Brian, Harlin is survived by son Christopher, 9; a daughter, Katherine, 7; his parents, Wilbur and Caroline; brothers James and Robert, and a sister, Joan.