Monday, August 29, 2016

The Red Bandanna: Welles Crowther, 9/11, and the Path to Purpose

Title: The Red Bandanna: Welles Crowther, 9/11, and the Path to Purpose
Author: Tom Rinaldi
Expected Publication: September 6th 2016 by Penguin Press
Format: Hardcover, 208 pages
Genre: Biography
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and Penguin Group for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
This book has an incredibly slow start and if it does not lose its readers before they are a third of the way through, it will not reach its truest potential. It is not until this point that the powerful writing comes out. It is nice to see the young boy that Welles Crowther was, the six year old that a father had given a red bandanna to that turned into his signature, but it is the man that will stick with the reader. A man that had dreamed of being a firefighter, but went on to study finance at Boston College and was in Tower 2 on that fateful day of September 11th, 2001.

In a selfless fatal choice, this twenty-four year old man that no one knew by name but could be identified by his commanding voice and his red bandanna, led countless people down to safety, chose to run back up the stairwell to search for more survivors. A man that his family and friends loved and needed was not thinking about himself, he was doing what his heart was telling him was his purpose.

He was never the biggest or most talented kid on the team, but he had passion and leadership skills. He was the one that others turned to and when his voice called out to those trapped in the building to followed him -if you can stand up, stand up and help the ones that you can help. They sound like simple words, but that is what was needed – a leader.

To this day, Welles Crowther has made a lasting impact to his college and to those that he has touched. Lives have changed, and will continue to change, because of the choices that he had made. He could have thought of only himself and run out of that building, but that is not who he was. He may not have been a recognized firefighter at that moment, but he was as much of a hero as the men and women wearing their turnout gear that day.

In the end, “an event held just once before in the 141 years since the department’s founding”, Welles Crowther attained his lifelong desire and his family could not have been any prouder of the son that they had raised.

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