Michael D'Auria was a very warm and loving young man who had a purpose in life. It was somewhat of a struggle getting there but he knew what his goal was and he succeeded. His entire life he wanted to be a fireman.
He was sworn into the department on May 2,2001 after receiving 100 percent on both the written and physical tests. He was so proud to be a part of the FDNY.
Mike was a chef at various restaurants in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. When he graduated from high school, he went to culinary school since he had been too young at that time to take the fire department test.
Michael loved getting tatoos, but they each had a very special meaning to him, e.g. St. Michael the Archangel on his right shoulder. He felt he was his protector. Mike began painting last year. Something he never tried before, but when he did he had such a talent that people were just amazed seeing his paintings.
Most of all, Michael was a caring, giving person. He literally would give the shirt off his back to someone in need. Michael was a hero to many people over the years, now he's a HERO to all.
As I sit here and write, I cry because my heart aches but I know you are happy now, Michael. You knew life here was only a small part of a very big picture. Michael made a statement to his sister, Christina, several months before September 11: "I know when I die it's going to be in a big way and it's going to change the world." How right you were my son.
Always and forever in our hearts.
Success in the Kitchen
Michael D. D'Auria was considered a fabulous chef by other noteworthy cooks among the firefighters of Engine Company 40 and Ladder Company 35. "One of the guys told us that whenever they saw Michael's name on the board, they knew they were going to eat good that night," said his mother, Nancy Marra. She remembers fielding an urgent phone message for him from the firehouse one night, the caller in search of a recipe for one of his sauces.
Firefighter D'Auria, 25, was one of nine firefighters on his mother's side of the family, and had trained as a chef. He was known, too, for his tattoos, which included St. Michael the archangel, St. Anthony and the Serenity Prayer surrounded by cherubs.
Mrs. Marra recalls a long conversation her son had with his sister, Christina Rinaldi, in April 2001. "He told her that when he dies, it's going to be in a big way, and it's going to change the world. Michael had become very spiritual in the last two years, and he read a lot of books. I really down deep feel he just had a feeling about it."
After earning 100 percent on the Fire Department's written and physical tests, Mr. D'Auria had been on the job nine weeks. The World Trade Center was his second fire.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on August 25, 2002.