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Patrick Brown
Age: 48
Occupation: Captain
Worked for: FDNY
Originally from:
Resided in: Stuyvesant Town, Manhattan
Submitted by: Irish Tribute ()

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From NY Daily News, Nov 11, 2001
'Courageous Pal Resolved to Fight Devil'

The following is an excerpt of a eulogy I delivered for my friend Capt. Patrick J. Brown of Ladder 3 in St. Patrick's Cathedral on Friday B his 49th birthday.

Happy Birthday, Patty Brown.

Gallant captain of the New York City Fire Department. First in, last out. Even now.

Much better men than I can tell you about Patty Brown in a fire; how he was ever calm, ever steady, always thinking one step ahead, so uncommonly brave that the department was sometimes unsure whether to give him a medal or charges.

I can tell you how gently Patty Brown stroked John Drennan's hair in the emergency room that night in 1994, when his friend was terribly burned fighting a fire on Watt St.

"How bad is it?" Drennan asked. "It's bad, John," Patty said.

Patty pledged to himself that he would look after Drennan's family. Patty spoke his first words to Drennan's wife, Vina.

"I don't talk much, but I've been assigned to you." Capt. Patrick Brown (white shirt) on rescue mission at 1991 blaze in Harlem. John Drennan was taken up to the burn unit, where Patty had himself twice been a patient. The memory came rushing back as Patty stepped off the elevator and he nearly began his angel guardianship by passing out in front of Vina.

"One thing you really don't want to do when you're a captain is faint," Patty said. Patty stayed at the Drennans' side through it all, saying just the right words to Vina and the kids, whispering assurances in their father's ear.

On the 14th day, Patty and Vina went down to Battery Park City at the base of the World Trade Center. He thought to throw a coin into the river to wish for his friend's recovery. That didn't seem enough and he threw a whole pocketful of change into the rushing water.

But not even the entire city's prayers could save John Drennan. Patty knelt at his friend's bedside and whispered, "Look, John, if you want to go, it's okay. It's okay, John, you can go. We'll take care of your family." A tear rolled down Drennan's cheek and Patty wiped it away.

After a biblical 40 days, John Drennan's struggle ended. At the funeral, Patty sat right here in the cathedral with Vina. Father Mychal Judge said the Mass and I am thankful none of us possessed the gift of prophesy.

-- Anon ()
12 Nov 2001

NY Daily News, Nov 11, 2001 (contd)

Patty remained the Drennans' guardian angel. In Vina's words, "When it was over, when it got lonely, when it got quiet, when it got scary, Patty was there for us still."

Men would come up to Vina and ask, "Vina, how are you? How are the children?" Women would come up and ask, "Vina, what's Patty Brown like?"

As I recall, there were at the time 17,846 women whose hearts leapt at the mention of bachelor Captain Patrick Brown. That was just below 14th St. I do not need to tell you who all the girls stared at during our monthly dinners at Zino's restaurant.

I can still hear Patty's laugh as we sat in that happy circle: Peter McLaughlin and Terry Hatton and Dennis Mojica and Tim Brown and Ricky Sorentino and Father Judge, and a newspaper guy who felt as if he were a scribe of old, accorded the undeserved honor of a seat with the Knights of the Round Table.

I can still see Peter McLaughlin, shining with life and goodness and charm. He died in a fire in 1995. Nobody was more heartbroken than Patty Brown. But Patty was only more determined when he faced the red devil. He continued to show that nobody astride a steed was ever so brave as a firefighter crawling on his hands and knees into the blinding smoke and flames.

On the morning of Sept. 11, Patty arrived at 3 Truck and wrote "0800 Capt. Brown RFD" in the journal. RFD: Reporting for Duty. That D denoting the core of Patty's life.

Not an hour later, he and 3 Truck were racing to the World Trade Center, where more people needed help than at any single moment in the city's history. "Don't go in there, Patty!" somebody cried.

"Are you nuts? We've got a job to do," Patty said. In they all dashed, bolder than any knights, as brave as any Marines, climbing up flight after flight to meet the very devil himself.

Tower 2 collapsed, and Patty understood Tower 1 would soon follow. Firefighters have told Tim Brown that Patty urged them on as they started back toward the street.

"Keep going, guys, keep going." They called for Patty to join them. "Come on, Captain, come on."

"Keep going, guys. Keep going." Patty and the rest of 3 Truck found themselves on the 40th floor with 30 to 40 severely burned people. All these firefighters were strong and fit and could have easily fled to safety in those final minutes.

But Paddy and 3 Truck would no sooner leave those burned people than they would have left John Drennan.

When Tower 1 collapsed, anyone who knew Patty Brown knew he was still in there. I was standing at the distance you stand when you are not a hero and when I stopped running I was near the water's edge B where Patty and Vina had stood seven years before, tossing in a fistful of change for her husband.

As I walked back to the stunned, eerie hush of what would become known as Ground Zero, I encountered Tim Brown. Ricky Sorentino was alive, but the rest of the Round Table was gone; Terry Hatton and Dennis Mojica and Father Judge and Patty Brown.

Today, Patty's mortal remains are still down in that smoldering pile. Perhaps he continues to fight the devil. He always knew that the devil is not just fire. The devil is also indifference and callousness and materialism and disrespect and anything else that hardens the heart.
-- Anon ()
12 Nov 2001

From NY Times Nov 27, 2001

'The Bravest and Grumpiest'

Yes, Capt. Patrick J. Brown was a firefighting hero. But oh, there was so much more. "Everything he tackled, he gave 300 percent," said Sharon Watts B onetime fiancC)e, ever a good friend B whether firefighting, music or yoga. He squeezed a baby grand into his apartment, and once puzzled a piano teacher who had arrived looking for "Little Patty Brown." He loved Broadway shows, saying that in another life he might have been a choreographer.

Ms. Watts recalled fondly that when she and Captain Brown, 48, a Vietnam veteran, started dating, he asked her to go with him to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Lower Manhattan. "We saw flowers that had been knocked over, and we set them up again."

When he worked in Harlem, he bicycled from his Stuyvesant Town apartment to 149th Street, but at Ladder Company 3 on 13th Street, she said, "he could run to his firehouse and take his yoga mat with him."

He was "a deeply spiritual man," said a friend, James Remar, "but he was far too humble to advertise that."

It was hard to pull him out of the city, said his sister, Carolyn Negron, who lives on Long Island. "He had to be around that action. My father used to say, `If our house is on fire, he ain't coming.' "

Captain Brown sometimes called himself a "grumpy old man," Ms. Watts said, so for his 47th birthday, she hand-painted a cereal bowl for him that said "To Pat: FDNY's Bravest and Grumpiest."

He never married. "He had felt so much loss," she said. "He didn't want anyone close to him to feel the pain of losing someone."
-- Anon (Friend { })
10 Dec 2001

After hoping and praying that it was another Patrick Brown on the list of missing and then a month of holding out hope that someone would find Paddy, I began to accept the inevitable. I admired him a great deal and to me he was a firefighter's firefighter, a real hero.
-- Janet M Horan - retired NYC firefighter (Friend {})
13 Sep 2003

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