Thinking of Others
Alvin Kappelmann Jr. sold insurance and worried about saving lives. Mr. Kappelmann, 57, was an insurance executive at Royal and SunAlliance. His office was in downtown Manhattan, though he was at a business meeting held by Aon in 2 World Trade Center when the attacks occurred.
Blessed with a powerful generosity, Mr. Kappelmann was a proud member of the volunteer fire department in Green Brook, N.J., where he lived. In fact, he joined when he was 16, and had logged 41 years of service. His interest was undoubtedly stimulated by his father, who had been a volunteer in the department for 70 years. An uncle also belonged. It was what they did.
"He enjoyed helping other people and educating people on fire safety," said his daughter Melanie Kappelmann, who believes that he tried to help evacuate workers in the towers, drawing on his training.
She remembered a moment at the Jersey Shore when she and her sister were young. "We were at a parade," she said, "when my father noticed there was smoke coming from a house. He went into the house before the fire department even got there. He wanted to make sure no one was inside. That was him, putting others before himself."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 18, 2001.