A Full Life, and Then Some
John W. Perry was not your typical police officer. He spoke French, Spanish, Swedish and Russian, and was learning Albanian. He was a graduate of New York University School of Law. He ran in three marathons and took part in a swim around Manhattan. He was an extra in Woody Allen films. He volunteered one day a week for the Kings County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. He was in the New York State Guard and was a board member in the New York Civil Liberties Union. He collected bulletproof vests from retired police officers and gave them to officers in Moscow.
On the morning of Sept. 11, Mr. Perry was filing his retirement papers at 1 Police Plaza, intent on becoming a medical malpractice lawyer.
When he learned of the attacks, he ran the few blocks to the World Trade Center. Colleagues said he disappeared in the rubble when the south tower collapsed, just moments after he tried to help a woman who had fainted.
"I always wondered why John did so much," said his mother, Patricia Perry. "As a child he was classified as having a learning disability, but he rose above it. He always felt he had something to prove."
Profile pubilshed in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 30, 2001.