Sunday, September 10, 2006

A Tribute

Battalion Chief Orio Joseph Palmer, Battalion #7 , Manhattan.

I never met him - had never even heard mention of him before - yet we were a mere few degrees of separation away from ever crossing paths. Married to my sister-in-law's cousin, Orio was the closest personal connection I had to the events of September 11th, 2001.

What do I know about Orio? Well, he was one of the very few fire fighters to reach the 78th floor of the World Trade Center, South - the highest level reached by any rescue workers. But more than that, I've learned just a little bit about the man behind the hero. From the accounts of his life I've read and from what I've learned from my family, I hope I can give my readers a glimpse into the great man Orio Palmer was.

First and foremost, he was a loving husband and father of three. Called the Music Man by his kids, he loved all types of music (but perhaps especially the classic rock of Led Zeppelin) and often embarrassed his kids with his "goony" dances.

Orio was a marathon runner, completing the New York Marathon on several occasions, among many others. He loved training on the hottest days of the hottest months of the year. It was the firefighter in him, I suppose. He loved the heat!

Orio was also very interested in restoration carpentry, working hard to restore the house he purchased with his wife, striving to turn it into the house of their dreams.

When it came to his job, Orio never settled for anything but the best. As my brother put it, he was never "stagnant" - always pushing for better conditions, improved communication, and top notch skills. He not only pushed himself to be the best he could be, but he insisted upon the best from those he worked with. A hard worker with a very strong work ethic, he was both a true leader and a loyal friend and coworker who couldn't help but gain the respect of everyone he came in contact with.

Orio Palmer - a silly, music loving family man. A passionate athlete and hobbyist. And a selfless, hard working man interested in improving conditions and helping others above all else.

Hmmmm.... no wonder I've grown so fond of Orio from the admittedly little I've learned about him - he reminds me of the important men I love in my own life - my husband, dad, grandfathers and brothers.

To Orio - a true hero and one outstanding husband, dad, brother and (future) grandfather. You are greatly loved and sorely missed. R.I.P.

For more tributes to the victims of 9/11, please click here.

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