Fame and Firefighting
Sometimes the spotlight lands on a New York City firefighter and just stays there. That's what happened to Thomas Foley, 32, a member of Rescue Company 3 in the Bronx.
Two summers ago he helped rescue construction workers dangling from a broken scaffold 12 stories above the street. "Don't worry," he told one of them. "You'll be going home to your family tonight." He got plenty of TV time for that, which blossomed into bit parts in "Third Watch" and "The Sopranos." Then he posed shirtless for People magazine's list of 100 most eligible bachelors last year.
"It was one of the most popular photos in that issue," said Carol Wallace, People's managing editor.
Mr. Foley, who lived in Nyack, N.Y., started out shy, said Joanne Foley Gross, his sister. But as an adult, he pursued interests like bull riding and hunting and turned his German shorthaired pointer, Maggie, into a field-trial champion. He was "always the life of the party," said Danny Foley, his brother and a firefighter with Engine Company 68.
When it came to firefighting, "he said it was the best job in the world and he would never give it up, ever," remembered a cousin, Christina Cimmino. "No matter how famous he got."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 7, 2001.
A decorated New York City firefighter who a year ago rescued two construction workers dangling from the outside of a building, Thomas Foley was among the first rescue workers to arrive at the World Trade Center.
Foley, 32, was among the most notable firefighters in New York. Last year, he was listed as among the nation's 100 most eligible bachelors by People magazine. He also recently had a bit part on "The Sopranos,' scheduled to be shown next year.
"He never wanted to be anything else other than a fireman," said Serena Cantor, a former New Yorker who met Foley when he was a boy. "He became a volunteer fireman at the age of 18."
Upon reaching one of the two men whose scaffolding collapsed last year, Foley told People magazine: "I told him don't worry. You're going home to your family tonight."
Profile courtesy of THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE.