Thomas Schoales

Within hours of the collapse of the towers, Edward Schoales Jr., his father and a brother were at the site looking for Thomas Schoales.

The youngest of six children, Tommy, as he was called, was a proud New York City firefighter. He had followed in his father's footsteps. Edward Schoales Sr. is a chief in the Fire Department's 15th Battalion. He raised his children alone after his wife, Margaret, died in 1984.

"He was the baby of the family," Edward Jr. said. "It's kind of like you try to take care of him."

Schoales recalled the agony of walking through the crowds on Sept. 11, looking at every firefighter he could.

"You're looking at every fireman's face trying to see Tommy," Schoales said.

Those memories have stayed with Schoales, who said the pain of his brother's loss was made easier by the support his family received from across the country, including dozens of cards and letters.

The support of family and the local community has helped the Schoales family the most, said Edward Jr., a Stony Point police officer.

"You wish you didn't have to go through it, but it helps," Schoales said. "I don't know how we would have made it through without it."

His brother's remains were found in January in the lobby of the north tower, which had been pushed four stories below ground by the impact of the collapse.