His Presence Is Everywhere
Paul Pansini loved the excitement of being a firefighter in downtown Manhattan, but his days off meant a great deal, too. Firefighter Pansini, 36, took his son, Paul Jack, now 7, and his twin daughters, Anna and Claire, now 3, everywhere when he was not working. "He was brave enough to even take them to the store," his wife, Janice, recalled.
Since Sept. 11, the family has, in turn, felt his presence everywhere. "I feel him definitely in my house," Mrs. Pansini said. The family lives in his childhood home in Tottenville in Staten Island. When they moved there in November 1994, the couple almost tore the century-old house down.
Now she is glad they did not. In Tottenville, they are surrounded by family members who keep his presence strong, including his sister, Loretta Halpert.
Lake George was Firefighter Pansini's favorite spot in the world. This summer, as Mrs. Pansini packed for their annual vacation to the lake, Claire asked if they were going to meet Daddy there. "I'm blown away by how much they remember him," Mrs. Pansini said. "I don't think he knew how much he meant to so many people. He was a very comical person. The love of my life. People keep coming up to me and saying, `I miss him so much.' "
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on August 11, 2002.