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Mike Mahon
  Irish Voice  

From Woodlawn, New York. Parents emigrated from Co. Mayo. Resides in Woodlawn.

Wife Aileen; daughter Tara, 12; sons Mike, 7; Brian, 5; Kevin, 3.

NYPD background
"I joined the force in 1985. I always wanted to be a cop, but it was actually my mother who mailed in the applications for me and my brother. We were still in high school. We ended up taking the test, and when I was 20 they called me. I've been a cop ever since. I worked in the 42 and 32 precincts, I made sergeant and now I'm a lieutenant. The NYPD is the greatest police department in the world."

Describe your September 11 experience
"My wife woke me up right when the first plane hit. I did a late shift the night before. I went downstairs and we were watching the news, and then the second plane hit. I jumped in my car, called the captain and headed down. I was on the West Side Highway when the first tower went down. I saw it happen; it was unbelievable. I was only a few blocks away when the second one went.

"The cops' voices were on our radios calling for help. I'll never forget there was a girl from the 13th precinct, Moira Smith. You could actually hear her on the radio, screaming. It's something I'll never, ever forget.

"It was so dark and cloudy. It was hard to see. Everyone was running around. We were helping people go up the West Side Highway, trying to move people, just trying to do whatever we could."

What have your days been like since?
"In the aftermath we were down there every day, digging, looking for bodies, going to the morgue. In the first month they sent half of the precinct down there. They've cut down the number of cops who are going down there, so I go maybe twice a week now."

What are your thoughts post-September 11?
"I don't think the impact of what's happened has hit us yet. It's been horrible. I knew four guys pretty well who died. One guy worked in my precinct, but had just gotten transferred. We were at the Emerald Society meeting the night before.

"It's changed me, big-time. I'm learning to respect life a little more, and enjoy it while I can. So many people who died on September 11 will never get the chance to do that."


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