PO Brian McDonnell
Worked with Brian in the QSTF, good guy, we were both waiting to make Sgt when they killed the list. He found his calling in ESU.
Brian McDonnell, 38, of Wantagh, was a member of the NYPD Emergency Service Unit Truck 1, stationed in Manhattan. He was last seen heading into the south tower. His remains were never found.
When Katharine McDonnell walks up the aisle at Holy Trinity High School next week to accept her high school diploma, her father will not be there to congratulate the little girl he last held when she was 8.
“He won’t be there to see me go to the prom,” McDonnell, now 17, said. “He won’t be there to see me go to college.” She’ll no doubt feel some jealousy, she said, as she always does seeing other girls whose dads dote on them.
Some of his friends and colleagues stepped in to help her through the rough patches. When she was 9, a dad’s colleague took her to the Girl Scouts’ father-daughter hoedown. And when her first boyfriend came to the house to pick her up for a date, her uncle was there to greet him.
Katharine McDonnell keeps with her an enduring memory of her father. On her nightstand and in her car are copies of his favorite poem, “Success,” by Ralph Waldo Emerson. It reads, in part:
“To leave the world a bit better,
Whether by a healthy child,
A garden patch,
Or a redeemed social condition.
To know even one life has breathed easier
because you have lived
This is to have succeeded.”
“It’s something I would like to live by myself,” she said.
Brian McDonnell was a pragmatist, and insisted that he and his wife, Margaret, talk about what she would do if something ever happened to him. He urged her to get the finances in order, pay off the mortgage and go to Disney World. (The family took that trip shortly after he died.)
And he urged her to remarry. In December 2007, she finally did, to August Tiberio, an eighth-grade classmate she ran into at a reunion. “August never, ever tried to take Brian’s place,” she said. “He helps me keep Brian’s memories alive even though he never met Brian.”
May 21, which would have been Brian McDonnell’s 48th birthday, the Town of Hempstead did its part to keep his memory alive. The corner of Kinloch Road at Barrie Avenue in Wantagh, where he grew up, was dedicated as “P.O. Brian G. McDonnell Road.” – Chau Lam
Dedicated Memorial Sites:
New York City Police Memorial Wall
Long Island 9/11 Memorial
Long Island Metropolitan Lacrosse Foundation 9/11/01 Memorial
9/11 Memorial at St. Joseph’s Chapel
Queen Elizabeth II September 11 Memorial Garden
Conseleya 9/11 Memorial
Crescent Beach Park – Flagpole/Memorial for 9/11 Victims
Dewitt 9/11 Memorial
East Newark 9/11 Memorial
Fair Haven 9/11 Memorial
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Mother and Daughter Give Tours Together
Jun 1, 2012 – Katie and her father, Brian McDonnell … party, she’ll be remembered on her birthday by the officers from NYPD’s ESU Truck 1. … two of the newest people to volunteer for Tribute’s walking tour program at the 9/11 Memorial; …