Service was held
on December 13, 2001.
Picture of Inspiration
Brunton had always known that her husband, Vincent, the captain
of Truck Company Ladder 105, loved being a firefighter. He joined
the department 22 years ago, the same year they got married,
the same year their daughter Kelly was born. But it was not
until she received a four- page letter from a young firefighter
she did not recall having met that Mrs. Brunton came to appreciate
the kind of firefighter her husband had been, the lessons he
was always prepared to teach and the depth of respect others
had for him. "I could go into his office at 11:30 p.m. and ask
him a fire question and he would lean back in his chair and
tell me countless stories," the letter from the firefighter,
Will Hickey, said. "He would say the best way to learn is from
your mistakes. 'If you're not making mistakes, you are not trying.'
" Even a false alarm provided an opportunity to learn. Mr. Hickey
described how terrified he once had been at a fire with Captain
Brunton. Flames were shooting out the windows and the roof.
"I was thinking to myself, 'This guy is absolutely crazy! What
is he thinking, he's John Wayne or something?' " But Captain
Brunton, 43, took his arm and showed him what to do. "I have
put a small picture of him on the underside of my helmet," Mr.
Hickey said. "Sometimes I just touch it to remind me to stay
calm, to keep it simple and to 'think on my feet.'" Profile
published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 29, 2001.
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