on October 4, 2001.
Heritage Neil Leavy was very familiar with the World Trade Center.
For a number of years in the 1990's he traded commodities, first
oil, later gold, on the futures exchanges there. But Neil Leavy,
34, had a firefighting heritage. His uncle was a firefighter.
So was his godfather, who was a captain. Two of his cousins
are currently on the job. "He always wanted to be a firefighter,"
his cousin Michael Leavy said. And so he became one, working
at Engine Company 217 in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. When
he was not on the job, Firefighter Leavy could often be found
in the basement of his parents' house in Bayonne, N.J., pumping
iron. When he was not there, he worked part time as a bartender
at Memories, a Staten Island tavern. "He was a workout maniac,"
his brother Mark said. "He was a strong, strong guy." Firefighter
Leavy, who was single, had agreed to be best man at his brother's
wedding next year. The ceremony is scheduled for Oct. 4, a year
to the day after Neil Leavy was buried. There will be no best
man. "I look at that day with mixed emotions," Mark Leavy said.
"It's the day I start a new life, but the day he was laid to
rest." Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 26,