“Richard Vanhine”

555 Fitness Hero WOD

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  • 4 Rounds for Time
  • 25 Shoulder-to-Overheads (135/95 lb)
  • 400 meter Run
  • 15 Thrusters (135/95 lb)
  • 400 meter Run

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namesake photo
This Firefighter Hero WOD is dedicated to Richard VanHine, FDNY, Squad 41, who was killed on September 11, 2001.

Richard Van Hine, known to all as Bruce, had been a firefighter for 12 years, most recently with Squad 41 in the South Bronx. The father of Meghan, 14, and Emily, 17, he was one of six men lost from the squad on Sept. 11. Firefighter Van Hine, 48, had always wanted to be a firefighter, said Ann, his wife of 21 years. "He was on the list to be a firefighter for seven years," she said. "I am a firm believer in following your dreams, so I encouraged him."

On February 26, 1993, Bruce was working on something in the basement. I would turn the television on to watch noontime news and hear that there had been an explosion at the World Trade Center. I would yell that information down the stairs to Bruce. He would come bounding up the stairs, listen to the report on the television and in true firefighter fashion say “I can’t believe I missed the big one.”

In August of 2001, Bruce would escort his mother to her granddaughter, his niece’s wedding in Chicago. At that wedding he would see his sister, his one niece and her groom, his two nephews and their future spouses. At the end of August, he would spend the night on the AP trail. And during that weekend he would finish the Connecticut piece of the trail leaving a Bible in a plastic bag in the trail shelter. By doing day hikes through the years, he completed the NJ, NY, PA and CT sections of the trail.

And on September 11, 2001, Squad 41 would be sent to Manhattan to relocate at Squad 18 but on the way there the second plane would hit the WTC and they would go directly to the WTC site. They would enter #2 WTC and get pretty high up into the tower when they would come across injured civilians. They would start to bring those civilians down as the building collapsed. That scenario wouldn’t be known until many months after the attacks. The FDNY knew Squad 41 had been dispatched but they didn’t know which tower they had gone in, etc.. At some point during that first week after September 11, I had a dream. In my dream Bruce was in the towers and he realized the building was collapsing and he tried even harder to get people to “move” and then he whispered that he loved his girls (that is what he called me and our two daughters) and he was face to face with God. He would enter eternity on September 11, 2001.

People have said that R. Bruce Van Hine was a hero. He wouldn’t like that word. He would say he was just doing his job, a job that he loved. He got to be the real firefighter that he always wanted to be. He is missed but his legacy of faith, family, friends and living your calling will be told to the next generation.
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