Vito Joseph DeLeo

Vito Joseph DeLeo
World Trade Center

'Never Surrender'


Vito DeLeo was in court in March 1994 when four defendants were convicted in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.

A trade center mechanic who had grudgingly worn a hearing aid since the explosion, Mr. DeLeo had been fixated by the trial. He plastered his office with clippings about the case. When the verdict came, he rushed to meet his wife, Sally Ann, to have a vodka on the rocks in celebration, he said in an interview with The New York Times at the time.

"I had chills coming down my body when I heard it," he said. "For my colleagues who are deceased: 'We can't bring you back, but I hope now that your souls will rest in peace. Never surrender.' "

Mr. DeLeo, 42, who was 150 feet from the explosion in 1993, was partly deafened by the blast. Nonetheless, he helped dozens of people escape from the building, said his cousin Helen Potenzano. Witnesses told the family that Mr. DeLeo, a father of two, was back at it again on Sept. 11. "He was a hero twice," Ms. Potenzano said.

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 18, 2001.




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