Where They Were

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By Nancy Rineman

Atlantic News, Thursday, May 29, 2003 -- Page 10A

HAMPTON -- Kevin Gallagher, former president of the New York City Firefighters and a guest speaker at Monday's Firefighters' Memorial Dedication in Hampton, was faced with added turmoil on September 11, 2001. Prior to Monday's ceremony in Hampton, he recalled some of the events of his life that day.

"I was in the voting booth," Gallagher said. "It was Primary Day." Then, the horrific events of that day began. Gallagher's son, Kevin Patrick, was one of the responding firefighters.

"I was acting as a firefighter and a father throughout the whole site," Gallagher said. Initial reports listed his son's company as being caught between the two buildings.

Six hours passed. It was 4 o'clock in the afternoon, Gallagher recalled, when all of a sudden amidst all the indescribable turmoil of the gut wrenching disaster, he felt a hand on his shoulder. His son was safe.

The elder Gallagher recently retired - on May 14, to be exact -- with 30 years and three days of firefighting service to his credit, completing his last tour with his son. He and his wife of 38 years (his "high school sweetheart") are lifelong residents of Brooklyn, New York.

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