|ESPN.com: NBA||[Print without images]|
|John Connolly's profile is one of the many carved into Staten Island's "Postcards" memorial.|
“By the time the ferry docked, around 10:30 a.m., the second tower had already fallen. Still holding out a small hope that his brother was out there, Connolly rushed through the smoke-swallowed streets, past burning cars and buildings and soot-covered people, to where the towers used to be. He eventually weaved his way around the outskirts of the destruction to Ten House, where he told his former chief about his brother. "He said, 'Kev, there's debris all around here from the 84th floor,'" Connolly said. "That hit me hard. The debris he was talking about was paper that was just disintegrated. There were no file cabinets. There was nothing." Spending the rest of the day searching through the towers' remnants and rubble for his brother, stopping briefly to seek shelter in a record store when Tower 7 fell, Connolly didn't return to his Staten Island home until 1:30 a.m., with little to tell his heartbroken wife, Diane. While sifting through the piles of wreckage days later, Connolly did come across a dead body in a hole. "I can still see the image of a battalion chief, standing on a metal beam and directing traffic," he said. "I came up and said, 'Listen, Chief, I found a body.' He just looked at me and asked, 'Is it a fireman?' And I'm just thinking to myself, What does that matter?" When Connolly told him that it wasn't, the chief, following the fire department's policy of never leaving a body behind, instructed him to put a mark on a nearby beam and move on. "I went back and put spray paint on the beam, and I walked off the pile, I walked to the ferry by myself," Connolly said. "By then we knew that my brother wasn't among the hardest part is he's still among the missing. We couldn't find anything. I tried my hardest, and I know everyone I worked with tried their hardest."
By then we knew that my brother wasn't among the hardest part is he's still among the missing.” -- Kevin Connolly
|A state champion in high school, Connolly, 54, still hits the court, in part to take his mind off 9/11.|
|Kevin Connolly lets one fly as a senior for St. Peter's in 1975.|
|The firefighters of Engine 155 and Ladder 78 in Staten Island all look at Connolly as a leader.|