Half of a Duo
Michael DeRienzo, a broker at Cantor Fitzgerald, had the safe job in his family. It was his twin sister, Lisa, a narcotics detective in the New York City Police Department, who put herself in harm's way every time she went to work. Mr. DeRienzo was so nervous that he would call daily and beep her if he got no answer at her desk. "I'm OK, I'm OK," Ms. DeRienzo, who just turned 36, would assure him.
Mr. DeRienzo and his sister were close as close can be, twins and then some. Their father had disappeared years back, remarried and not maintained contact with the family. Their mother died of cancer four years ago. "It was just him and me," Ms. DeRienzo said. "We were like magnets."
As children, attending parochial school near the family's Staten Island home, she was the standout athlete. Michael would grow testy with people who considered him merely "Lisa's brother." All that changed in college, she said, when her brother reached his full growth — tall and thin, a marathoner-in-the-making, a favorite among the girls at Wagner College. "Then it was `Lisa who?' " she said.
On Sept. 10, the twins were planning a weekend trip to Chicago for a Mets-Cubs game, to be together on the anniversary of their mother's death. Instead, with a fellow member of the narcotics task force who also lost a sibling, Ms. DeRienzo spent the doubly sad day in the bucket brigade at the World Trade Center.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 23, 2001.