Gail Pickett design and piecing
Dorothy Murdoch
Pat Smith
machine quilting

The Captain Brian C. Hickey Quilt

All photos © Drunell Levinson. All rights reserved.

I work with Ed Ziegler's wife, Marie. After September 11th, when they lost their friend Brian, I made this quilt panel as a tribute to Brian and his life. Rather than writing a description myself, I asked Ed to contribute some words on Brian's life. This is his description of his friend.

Gail Pickett          

Captain Brian C. Hickey
FDNY Rescue 4

Brian Hickey, a 20-year FDNY veteran, was commander of Rescue 4, an elite group based in Woodside, Queens, New York. On the morning of September 11, Brian was filling in for a Rescue 3 captain who was off that day. That morning a major emergency signal sent the men of Rescue 3 hurtling from the Bronx, New York's northern borough, to the World Trade Center minutes after a plane hit the North Tower. None of the eight men in the company survived. Brian would have turned 48 years old. On that terrible day, he was a brave angel that heroically climbed up stairs to help save lives, as others fled down them.

For Brian's Rescue 4 company, 2001 was an especially tragic year. On June 17, Father's Day, the company had lost two firefighters in a fire-triggered explosion at a hardware store in Queens. Brian was also injured in that fire, and was working only his second day back on the job when he was killed at the WTC.

Fire Department officials believe Brian had been in the stairwell of the South Tower on a high floor when the WTC collapsed. Brian's remains were never recovered, but his crushed fire helmet was recovered alongside tools from Rescue 3. His perspiration and few strands of hair in the helmet provided enough DNA to make a positive identification. His helmet and a few other treasured artifacts are buried in his coffin.

Brian spent his entire life in Bethpage, NY. He started as a volunteer in the Bethpage Fire Department and rose into one of the City Fire Department's most respected jobs, accumulating as many medals as he did friends. He was a man of integrity and admiration who was promoted to Battalion Chief after his death; a lifelong volunteer who fought for training improvements as a chief instructor at the Nassau Fire Academy and for sprinklers in senior housing as a commissioner of Bethpage Fire District. He described his firefighting calling in FDNY: Brothers in Battle, a movie he had made with his younger brother Ray, who died of cancer in 1992.

Brian was a devoted husband to his high school sweetheart and wife of 22 years, Donna, and father of four — Danny, 24, Jaclyn, 16, Dennis, 18, and Kevin, 10. His parents, Raymond and Florence, and his two sisters, Mary and Lori, all live in the Bethpage area. He loved playing golf, had a dog Molly, and genuinely loved having a good time. He was also a great friend of mine for 45 years, and I miss my old friend.

Ed Ziegler          

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