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Thread: About Kevin

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    About Kevin

    Medals Covered His 'Soft' Heart

    By Elizabeth Moore
    STAFF WRITER

    September 28, 2001
    Rescue Co. 2's firehouse is the only building standing on its Bergen Street block in Crown Heights. But to neighborhood kids, it has become a friendly place known as Kevin's Bike Shop, where one firefighter always made time to help put air in their tires or fix a broken chain.
    Firefighter Kevin O'Rourke, whose body was recovered last weekend in the wreckage of Tower One, had bought a rug remnant he kept rolled up under his turnout gear at the elite company's station. When the kids came by, he'd pull it out to practice "Stop, Drop and Roll."
    "Kevin O'Rourke was the nicest man on the New York City Fire Department," said Robert Galione, the senior firefighter in Rescue 2, who ought to know. "We've tortured him and we've badgered him, and he just giggled."
    The sun rose and set with his wife, Maryann. On days off, he helped serve communion at hospitals. But O'Rourke's soft heart was covered by a chestful of medals for the hard work he did when the alarm bell rang. Indeed, the only time he got in trouble was for being so eager to save lives that he endangered his own.
    "His helmet shield would melt," Capt. Phil Ruvolo recalled Wednesday. "I'd say 'Kevin, you were too close again,' and he'd say 'Oh, I'm sorry, I just wanted to get to that back bedroom, there coulda been somebody there, I'll get it fixed right away.'"
    In June, O'Rourke helped rescue an elderly woman two blocks from the firehouse. Her son came by the next month to thank them.
    "He said, 'You guys saved my mom. I have her now because of you. I only have $2,000, and it's yours,'" Ruvolo recalled. "Kevin said, 'No, no, no. I want you to keep your money, but I want you to buy everybody in your family a smoke detector.'"
    Besides his wife, Maryann, he is survived by two daughters, Corinne and Jamie; his parents, Dennis and Hannah; siblings, Dennis and Patricia O'Keefe, and many nieces and nephews.
    Last edited by Chris; 01-08-2002 at 09:00 PM.

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