The Many Sides Of Fallen Bravest – QNS.com

The Many Sides Of Fallen Bravest

Firefighter Michael Dermot Mullan was many things.
To his family in Flushing, he was a loving and caring son, a reliable brother, a favorite uncle. To his friends and fellow firefighters at Ladder 12 in Chelsea, he was a person to turn to for guidance and a helping hand. To his patients at St. Johns Hospital, where he worked as a nurse for a year and a half, he was a calming presence and support.
Mullan, 34, was a US Army reservist, a piano virtuoso, an admirer of Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis, a devout Yankee fan, as well as a fountain of jokes, stories and good-natured pranks that exemplified his boundless sense of humor and of life.
"You couldnt be three minutes in the same room with him without laughing," said Michaels father Patrick Mullan.
But there was one thing that Michael Mullan was not. He was not a braggart.
"My husband and I never knew the extent to which Michael reached out to people around him," said Theresa Mullan, Michaels mother. "He just never told us about it."
The Mullans learned a lot about their sons heroism and generosity at his Oct. 20 funeral service at a packed Hattons Funeral Home in Bayside. They found out from hundreds of prayer notes mailed to their home and e-mailed to a memorial website established by Michaels cousin, Ann Marie. They found out from newspaper articles about a middle schooler named Tommy Dimsdale, all the way in Clinton, South Carolina, dressing up as a firefighter and delivering a speech about Michael in front of his class on the Famous American Day the Carolinian equivalent of Halloween.
On the morning of Sept. 11 Mullan awoke his father with what now seems like a prophetic telephone call.
"All he said was, Dad, theres been an attack on the World Trade Center. Weve been called in. I cant talk right now, but I love you and please tell everyone I love them," the father recalled.
"Right there and then, I knew Michael was not coming out of there," Patrick Mullan continued. "I still hoped for the best, of course, but knowing the kind of person he was and the way he lived his life, I had a feeling he would not turn away from danger until too late."
Michael indeed lived his life the way he used to until the last moment. He was about to pull out with the rest of his team after evacuating people from the Marriott Hotel adjacent to the Towers, when he heard a distress call from the two firefighters trapped inside. Without hesitation, Mullan turned back. Seconds before heading inside the burning building, he ordered Jason McGimpsey, a young probationary firefighter who arrived on the scene with him, to stand down. When McGimpsey tried to argue, Mullan shoved him away.
"Get away, proby," he said. "This is not a place for you."
Another life saved.
Steven Dean, a six-year-old former patient of Mullan whom Michael once cajoled into taking an intravenous needle, was also at the funeral. Dean and Mullan became buddies after Stevens hospital stay. Mullan even took him to his firehouse one day.
"He was inconsolable," Theresa Mullan said of Dean at the funeral.
At 8:45 on the morning of Sept. 11, Michael Mullan was on the final leg of his 24-hour shift. "Six more hours, and he wouldve been off," his father said, choking back tears.
During the last few hours of funeral service, the time usually reserved for the family members to say their final goodbyes, the viewing parlor at the Hattons was still full of people.
Patrick Mullan turned to his wife to complain. She put a hand on his arm.
"You have to understand," she told her husband. "As of September 10, Michael was our family. Now, hes the Citys family."

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