Michael Helmut Haub's graduation, at age 32, from the New York City Fire Academy in 1999 was one of the happiest days of his life.

The Mineola resident was still a probationary fireman when he rode off to the World Trade Center with Ladder Co.4 on Sept. 11. He has not yet been found.

Haub is a 13-year member and former captain of the Roslyn Highlands Fire Department who participated in the Avianca crash rescue in 1990. He is remembered in Roslyn as an aggressive and skillful fireman who loved to teach and had an uncommon knack for repairs.

The son of German immigrants, Haub was proud of his heritage, fluent in the language and played a leading role in several German clubs. He traveled to Germany, Austria and Switzerland yearly and met his wife, Erika, while working as a bartender at the Plattdeutsche Park Restaurant in Franklin Square. He spoke German with his children, Michael Andreas, 3, and Kiersten, 16 months.

Haub also loved to cook, grating his own fresh nutmeg and other flavorings as he stirred up sauerbraten, goulashes and savory venison for his family and friends.

"The only problem was that he couldn't cook for less than 22, because that's how many they have in a fire company," his mother-in-law, Ruthann Schuster, recalled with a laugh.