Proud to Be a Firefighter
When Michael Cawley was 3, some firefighters drove past and yelled: "Hey, Michael Cawley! How are you?"
"Mom didn't know these guys," said Brendan, 27, his younger brother. "But they all knew Michael." By the time he could walk, Michael Cawley wanted to be a firefighter. "Wouldn't it be cool to play major-league baseball?" Brendan once asked. "Rather be a fireman," Michael answered.
Mr. Cawley, 30, scored 100 percent on the Fire Department exam and was assigned to Ladder Company 136 in Elmhurst, Queens. He was "a walking billboard for the Fire Department," said his younger brother. He had drawers of F.D.N.Y. T-shirts and rarely wore anything else. He was furious when he was off duty during a big fire. "I could see how happy he was," said Brendan Cawley, who is studying for the Fire Department tests. "They're buddies, hanging out talking about fires, baseball -- not sitting in an office preparing for a meeting. When someone goes to a fire, they all go with him."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 12, 2001.