555 Fitness Hero WOD
- 21-15-9 Reps for Time
- Deadlifts (225/155 lb)
- Wall Ball Shots (20/14 lb)
Anthony Rodriguez's sixth child came into the world on Sept. 14. In the weeks leading up to her birth, the anxious father carefully planned the design of the nursery, and showed off his handiwork to everyone once it was completed. When she was born, the doctors called her "Hope," but the family held off on naming her, waiting for Mr. Rodriguez to come home. He never did, and the little girl was named Morgan Antonette — the name her father wanted.
Morgan's father, a 36-year-old firefighter with Brooklyn's Engine Co. 279, is among the missing victims of the World Trade Center attack. The daughter he will never know has been the family's only light in an otherwise dark time. "She is such a beautiful baby," said Brunilda Rodriguez, his mother. "He did her room. It's gorgeous. He was very proud of it. He picked me up just to go see it."
On Sept. 11, Mr. Rodriguez called home after the first plane tore through Tower 1. He told his family that everything was fine and he was on his way home. He was still chatting with his colleagues when the second plane struck. He quickly called home one more time before joining the rescue mission.
"He was about to leave when the next plane hit," said his mother. "He said he had to go back in because the Towers were under attack. That's the last time we heard from him." Mr. Rodriguez joined the Fire Department only six months ago after a 10-year career in the Navy. He spent a brief time with Ladder Co. 131, also in Brooklyn. "He always had to be doing something, helping people," Mrs. Rodriguez said. "He was always out there helping people. When he was 3, he told me he never wanted to be president. When I asked him why, he said, 'My family would be in danger.' That was my son."
From the time he was a little boy, Mr. Rodriguez knew how to work a room, organizing games and activities for the kids and adults at family functions. It was a role he carried into adulthood. Described as the life of the party, Mr. Rodriguez planned family barbecues and camping trips. Weekly Sunday dinners were cherished by the entire Rodriguez clan.
"Once a year, the family would go camping up at Lake George," said his brother, Peter. "He got all the cousins together and he made it a point once a month to get together."
The brothers coached CYO basketball at St. Rita's R.C. Church, Meiers Corners together. Always willing to lend a hand, Mr. Rodriguez did everything with a smile on his face. Handy around the house, he could finish floors, put in a deck or refinish a bathroom. "There was nothing, as a 36-year-old, that he really couldn't tackle," Mrs. Rodriguez said. "Whatever he did, he always did well."
Born in the Bronx, he was brought to Meiers Corners as a child. A graduate of Susan Wagner High School, he was named an Advance All Star in wrestling in 1982. His dream of joining the military began early on when he joined the Richmond Cadets as a 9-year-old. In the Navy, he was an E-5 radioman second class, serving in Connecticut, South Carolina and Puerto Rico.