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Honoring Welles Crowther “The Man in the Red Bandana” at the NYSRC

“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).” The Red Bandana, a symbol of the purist form of love and compassion. Welles Crowther was a true example of this. Native of Nyack NY, Welles grew up playing sports and hanging out with his friends. Whether it was on the street, in the classroom, or on the field, Welles was always willing to lend a helping hand. When he was 16 years old, he joined the local fire department as a junior firefighter. Given to him by his father, the Red Bandana became a part of him. He carried it everywhere. In college, Welles was a star athlete, ripping it up on the lacrosse field. He possessed all the intangibles a coach wants in his players, and his teammates respected him for that. The people he met and experiences he had all shaped him into the man he was, preparing him for the toughest day of his life.

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Some see mistakes as tragedies, others as opportunities.

Some think mistakes are strenuous and make you tenuous, others see mistakes a time to be constructive, strong, and generous.

Some see mistakes as par for the course, others as an eagle on the number 18 handicap fourth.

Some see mistakes as a time to hide, others as one to collide and apologize.

Some see mistakes as a chance to point fingers, others as a chance to take ownership, step-up, and deliver.

Some think mistakes are okay, to them I say, “Hey, don’t accept a life below your highest level of play.”


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The Red Bandana

“Tom Rinaldi’s The Red Bandana could very well become one of those classic books that are handed down through generations, for more than any book I have read in a very long time it convincingly tells the story of how great men and women become great–how cultural, community, and spiritual drives can develop that inner character that will make the world a better place. It is all found here in these pages–the intellectual and moral strength of a close and loving family, determination, guts and the sense of service that brings alive this memorable an beautifully written story of the 9/11 death of Welles Crowther. This book will always be set aside in my house to illustrate the art of writing, but mostly to honor the life of this courageous man– volunteer firefighter, champion athlete, well-positioned stock trader–a true friend and loyal son whose inner inspiration was to become a New York City firefighter. Every first responder will want to read this book every high school ad college English teacher will want to assign it and every thoughtful reader will give it to someone they love.” -Dennis Smith, retired FDNY firefighter and author of Report from Engine Co. 82

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