A Dream Realized Briefly
After watching his number creep up the list of new hires for 20 years, Paul Tegtmeier finally got the call 18 months ago to become a New York City firefighter, at the age of 40. He quit his job as a field technician at Verizon and picked up his crisp uniform.
"He met the age cutoff, from the time that he applied," said his wife, Catherine. , "His was the last class taken off that list. Firefighting was something he wanted to do since he was a toddler and he only wanted to do it in New York City."
Mr. Tegtmeier, 41, a father of two, was on his way to Ladder Company 46 in the Bronx when the first plane struck 1 World Trade Center. Fire officials say that he likely reached the firehouse in time to join his colleagues as they rushed toward the twin towers, Mrs. Tegtmeier said. He loved firefighting, and was volunteer for more than 20 years at the Roosevelt, N.Y., Fire Department, where he met his wife, also a volunteer firefighter.
His 6-year-old son, Aric, lives very much in his parents' image. A couple of days after the collapse, Aric pulled on his firefighting helmet, coat and boots and fought invisible fires on the front lawn with firefighters who came to mourn the loss of his dad.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 9, 2001.