Carpenter With Goals
Martin Coughlan was raised in Cappawhite, a small village in County Tipperary, Ireland, but his family said he had no trouble fitting into life in the big city. He moved here in 1987 with his wife, Catherine, and their four daughters, Orla, Ailish, Sinead and Denise. A carpenter in Ireland, he immediately set about finding work in the trade.
Mrs. Coughlan said the family left because there were better job opportunities here than in Ireland. But Mr. Coughlan also had a love for Elvis Presley, Graceland and western movies, which may have been a small part of the inspiration to immigrate.
Shortly after they came to New York, Mrs. Coughlan told her husband that she did not want the family to live in an apartment. Mr. Coughlan zealously pursued jobs, often working seven days a week, and the family moved to a house in Bayside, Queens.
"He just wanted a comfortable home and a car that worked and to see that we were educated," said his eldest daughter, Orla Bowie.
His job with the Sweeney and Heekin Carpentry and Dry Wall Corporation of Long Island City took him to buildings all around Manhattan, and on Sept. 10 and 11, Mr. Coughlan, 53, was working on the 92nd floor of 2 World Trade Center.
The Coughlans' daughters now range in age from 28 to 20. Two have completed college. "I was finally getting him to relax on Sundays," Mrs. Coughlan said. "We were just getting our life back."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on June 30, 2002.