Finding a New Bond
On holidays, John P. Bergin wasn't just the turkey carver. He prepared the entire turkey. "He was good old Martha Stewart with the cheesecloth," his wife, Madeline, said. "We're going to starve without him."
Mr. Bergin, 39, honed his cooking while working as a firefighter, first with the No. 6 truck in Manhattan and more recently with Rescue Company 5. At home on Staten Island he took up other domestic chores. He changed diapers for three children and coached their teams. With his co-workers' help, he put a swimming pool in the backyard; beside it stood a beer tap, his prized possession. Most recently, he and a partner had bought a local bar, the Grand City Tavern. On Sept. 11, renovations were two weeks away from completion.
"They did everything together," Mrs. Bergin said of her husband and the other firefighters. Now, she and 10 other wives of men from his firehouse who were lost in the attack are carrying on the tradition, albeit more somberly. "We just started counseling together," she said. "We've become very close. How the guys shared a bond — now we share a bond."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 6, 2001.