Who is your Hero? Honoring “The Man in the Red Bandanna” ~ September 11

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By Katie Gargano and Lauren Miller

What is a hero? Welles R. Crowther was a hero to many on September 11, 2001. Have you heard this remarkable story? On this 11th anniversary of 9/11, it is well worthwhile to see ESPN’s video about Welles called the “Man in the Red Bandanna.

Welles, a graduate of Nyack High School and Boston College, worked for Sandler O’Neill and Partners as an equities trader, which was located on the 104th floor of the South Tower in New York City. He was also trained to be a firefighter. When the attacks happened, he took charge and set up a triage to help survivors of the attack on the World Trade Center. Welles helped to save at least 12 people.
Witnesses say they remember a man with a red bandanna around his nose and mouth that talked in an authoritative, but helping voice. The “Man in the Red Bandanna” organized a rescue effort. He found and directed dazed and confused victims to the stairwell open for rescue. He carried injured people and just kept going back and helping people. Unfortunately, Crowther didn’t make it out of the building, but he will forever be on our minds.

Let me give you some additional background on Welles Crowther. He was born on May 17, 1977, in New York, NY. When he was seven, he and his family moved to Nyack, NY. He went to Nyack High School, where he was on the honor roll. He was inducted into the National Honor Society and French Honor Society. While he was still in high school, he was a junior member of the local fire department. When he turned 18, he completed the New York State training program in firematics and became a full time member of the fire department.

He attended Boston College, where earned his Bachelors in economics in 1999. Throughout the years, he played multiple sports and was an exemplary team player. One of his signature habits was always having a red bandanna with him. His father gave him a red bandanna when he was a kid. No one realized that this red bandanna would later signify a hero.

On this September 11 in Nyack, residents will tie a red bandanna around the trees throughout the village. For more information on what the residents of Nyack are doing on September 11, check out this article on Patch.

Welles is remembered on the Nyack High School’s Athletic page. There is a brief synopsis of Welles: “Nyack High School Class of 1995. Earned 8 Varsity Letters in 3 Sports While Being a High Honor Role Student.” Plus, there’s a link to the Man in the Red Bandanna.


Welles was a men’s lacrosse player and a 1999 graduate of Boston College, and is well-remembered there. Athletes have taken to wearing a red bandanna in memory of Welles:

Boston College press releases:

It’s not just Boston College, but here’s another college giving tribute to Welles: At a football game to Honor Welles Crowther with Helmet Stickers at UCF (University of Central Florida) – and the fans were also wearing red bandannas! – Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kxo0vzgwnmY

In addition, UCF hosts a Red Bandanna Game on Saturday September 15 against Florida International University. On September 11, two clubs got together and planted 3,000 flags to commemorate the lives lost on 9/11.

This story will truly touch your heart. Welles Crowther was only 24 years old, but he will forever live on. Everyone is grateful of this young, selfless hero.

Related Links:

Welles Remy Crowther- Charitable Trust Website: http://www.crowthertrust.org/
CNN Story on the Man in the Red Bandanna: http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2002/america.remembers/stories/heroes/welles.html
Red Bandanna Run: http://www.bc.edu/offices/service/welles5k.html/
Honoring a former Rye High School Athlete ~ September 11

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