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“Brian McAleese”


555 Fitness Hero WOD

3.3K 134
  • For Time
  • 75 Thrusters (95/65 lb)
  • At the top of each minute perform:
  • 20 Double-Unders

Perform the double-unders on the minute every minute (EMOM) until the total number of thrusters is completed.

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namesake photo

The Firefighter Hero WOD is dedicated to Brian McAleese, FDNY, Engine 226, who was killed on September 11, 2001.

Brian McAleese, 36, of Baldwin, was a New York City firefighter at Engine Co. 226 in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. His brother, John, also a firefighter whose firehouse was around the corner, found McAleese’s demolished rig. In the glove compartment he found a list of firefighters, his brother among them, who had come on the truck.
One of five children, Brian McAleese was known as the family peacemaker. “He had a great big heart. He would do anything for anybody,” said his sister, Pat Nitti of Dix Hills. “Brian was the first one of the family to try to make peace if there was any fighting,” she said.

He came from a family of firefighters — his father had been in the city fire department. McAleese and his brother often worked the same fires. Another brother, Kevin, is a New York City police detective.

“He really took care of my parents . . .” said Nitti. And he had four of his own children, the oldest 5 and the youngest 4 months at the time. “Having kids for him was the epitome of being alive.”

“Whenever we were at a party and we would toast, he would say, ‘Life is good and we deserve it.’ I loved that,” she said. She described the loss, all these years later, as devastating. “You can’t just take a piece of the puzzle away — and we were all very close, all about a year apart. You have to carry on, but every holiday is hard. It’s just the way they died. There was no warning,” she said. “We have a candle for him at every holiday we’re together.”

The family of firefighter Brian McAleese, whose unit responded to the World Trade Center tragedy, hasn’t given up hope. His two older brothers, John, 38, also a firefighter with Engine Co. 219, and Kevin, 41, a New York City police detective, have been searching for him long hours every day since Tuesday’s attacks.

Brian McAleese, 36, was at work at Engine Co. 226 in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, when the first hijacked airliner crashed into Tower One, said his sister, Pat Nitti, 40, of Dix Hills. His wife, Dawn, called the station after hearing the news but was told the firefighters had already gone, Nitti said.

McAleese is a second-generation city firefighter. His father, John, a retired 25- year veteran, died Jan. 10 after battling multiple sclerosis. His brothers-in-law – Matt Merecka, of Ladder Co. 112 in Bushwick, Brooklyn, and Wally Merecka, of Ladder Co. 103, East New York, Brooklyn – have been helping in the recovery.

Since the rescue and recovery began, McAleese’s brothers, John and Kevin, have been leaving their homes on Long Island about 7:30 a.m. and returning after midnight, Nitti said. “They’ve been there nonstop,” she said. “They come home at night and they are absolutely devastated. They shower, they eat, and they go to sleep. In the morning, they all meet up and go back in.”

Joining in the search is Brian’s childhood friend, Greg Fix, 36, who drove in late Wednesday from his home in Wilmington, N.C., where he also is a firefighter. The family has maintained an around-the-clock vigil. His mother, Ann Marie, 63, and his other sister, Maureen Porcelli, 30, of Baldwin, are waiting by the phone for the latest updates.

His sisters-in-law, Kathleen Merecka and Keri Merecka Regan, have been caring for McAleese’s wife and their four children, who are 4 months, 2, 4 and 5 years old. “The support that we have received from the family, our friends and our neighbors has enabled us to keep going at this difficult time,” Nitti said. “This act has broken our hearts but not our spirit. We continue to hope and pray for Brian and all of the other families affected by this tragedy.”

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