Robert Regan: A Real 'Mr. Mom'

When Robert Regan first met Donna Wells, he was 21 and she was 15. He was tall, dark-haired, and "had the most beautiful blue-green eyes that you ever wanted to see," she remembered. She was having trouble with geometry, and he helped her with her homework. They started dating. "It was a big scandal back then," she said. But Mr. Regan was the quietly determined sort and a friend of Donna's older sister, so her parents eventually gave their permission for them to go out.

They married, and Mr. Regan became a civil engineer. But when Caitlin, their daughter, was born, Mr. Regan quit his job to join the Fire Department so he could have more flexible hours and spend more time with the baby. Four years later, Brendan was born. "He was Mr. Mom," Mrs. Regan said of her husband's delight in his children.

Lieutenant Regan, 48, was a member of Engine Company 205, Ladder Company 118 in Brooklyn Heights, and when word came of the World Trade Center attack, he and his fellow firefighters sped to the scene.

"There was never a day that went by that we didn't know what we had," Mrs. Regan said. "We told our kids not everybody gets to be as happy as we are."