555 Fitness Hero WOD
- For Time
- 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps of:
- Overhead Squats (135/95 lb)
- Strict Handstand Push-Ups
The firefighters at Ladder Co. 110 looked up to "Big Daddy," and it wasn't only because of his towering physique. Lt. Paul Mitchell was also a respected leader, a strong man with a caring and generous spirit.
He took probies under his wing, offering tips on safety and preparedness. And he gave guidance to all who asked, dispensing counsel on everything from golfing to how to get grants to pay for a kid's education.
Everybody relied on "Big Daddy." "Even chiefs came to him for advice. Paul had an answer for everything," said Firefighter Christopher Gunn, Mr. Mitchell's longtime friend at Brooklyn's Ladder Co. 110. "Just like with his family, he was Superman to them. Well, he was Superman to us. That's how we looked up to him."
Early on the morning of Sept. 11, Mr. Mitchell was ending a 24-hour shift at Engine Co. 5 in Manhattan, where he had been temporarily assigned. He was heading home to Annadale when the first plane hit the World Trade Center sometime during the trip down the FDR Drive, and he quickly made his way to Ladder Co. 110 on Tillary Street, where he began his firefighting career in 1987.
"It was his home. He was always there," said his wife, the former Maureen Brown. "He was a very large presence on Tillary Street." By the time Mr. Mitchell arrived at the Brooklyn firehouse, his brothers had already left for Lower Manhattan, so he grabbed some gear and hopped in a Fire Department van that followed a chief's car to the scene. He was last seen near Tower 2.
Mr. Mitchell remains among the thousands missing in the terrorist attacks. He was 46. "He just loved being a fireman," said Mrs. Mitchell. "He wanted a job where he could help people and do something worthwhile."
Mr. Mitchell, who stood 6 feet 4 inches tall, earned the name "Big Daddy" at Ladder Co. 110, where he spent most of his Fire Department career until he was promoted to lieutenant last October and assigned to Manhattan's 1st Battalion. As with all first-year lieutenants, he covered shifts where needed throughout the city. But his heart was always stationed at Tillary Street.
"His last run was that run (on Sept. 11), and he left from our quarters," said Mr. Gunn. "It's not a coincidence that that's where he left from. It was meant to be."