Cary Man Remembers Fallen Firefighters
Posted March 18, 2002
CARY, N.C. — It has been six months since the attacks of Sept. 11, and rescue workers are still finding the remains of victims.
On Wednesday, the bodies of three New York firefighters were found. On Tuesday, rescue workers pulled the remains of 14 victims from the rubble of the World Trade Center; 11 of those were firefighters.
A Cary businessman feels the pain each time another body is found.
"I feel honored to have worked with those guys," said Jimmy Schmid, a former member of the Fire Department of New York.
Six months removed from Sept. 11, Schmid cannot remove the pain of losing so many brothers.
"Every day you think about the guys, their families. They were all great guys," he said.
Schmid moved to Cary to attend North Carolina State University and opened the Food Factory on East Chatham Street. Before that, he served the city of New York for five years as a police officer and for five years as a firefighter with Ladder Company 43 in Spanish Harlem.
"I know about two dozen of the guys. I worked with a few. I went through the academy with a few," he said.
Schmid said that when he saw the first tower collapse, he closed his restaurant and started making calls, looking for one of his best friends, Bobby McMahon.
"My dad had seen him in the morning voting. It was election day. And he said, 'Well, I know Bobby's OK. I just saw him.' Well, Bobby was on his way to work, and he didn't make it. His wife had a baby three weeks ago," Schmid said.
The former firefighter still beams with pride about his old job. He campaigned with Rudy Giuliani and fought fires alongside good men.
Now he pays tribute to the ones he lost with a sign on the wall that reads, "You ran in when we all ran out. For that we are forever grateful."
"It's hard. It hurts a lot. It really hurt the job that so many of us love," he said.
Schmid and his wife, Lisa, had a son three months ago. They named him Robert after Bobby McMahon.