Firefighter With Law Degree
John Moran was a Fire Department battalion chief and his cousin Joseph Crowley was a congressman. But when they united their voices that last Saturday afternoon, at the block party in the Rockaways -- well, "The Star of the County Down" never sounded sweeter.
At 42, Chief Moran was a kayaking, tin- whistle-playing firefighter with a law degree. But he never put himself before others. When his wife, Kim, was working out of town, he fed, bathed and smothered with love their two children -- Ryan, 7, and Dylan, 4 -- all the while ensuring that Peggy Moran, his mother who lived above him, never went wanting.
"When I saw his car outside, back home from work, that was a comfort to me," his mother said.
People may never forget the taunt that Michael Moran, John's younger brother and fellow firefighter, delivered to Osama bin Laden during a nationally televised concert in October, a taunt so profane and yet so eloquent, full of Irish anger and grief.
But Kim Moran will remember the late afternoon of Sunday, Sept. 9, the day after the block party and two days before the disaster that swallowed him. Trudging up from the beach came her beaming husband, pulling his sons on that wheeled contraption he had built for his kayak.
His wife grabbed a camera and caught it: John Moran in his glory.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 25, 2001.