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The Story of the "Man in the Red Bandana"

Normally on this site, the posts are related to the latest sports news, what's going on in the business world, or reviews and recommendations on the hottest craft beers. But on this day of remembrance, I wanted to share a story of a young man who is the definition of an American Hero.

Welles Remy Crowther. The name everyone should know and honor, especially on the anniversary of 9/11. Welles was a bright, young man. He grew up in New York and went on to study at Boston College, where he also played D1 Lacrosse. As a kid, he saw his father get dressed up for church and he always wrapped a small comb in a Red Bandana and kept it in his pocket. When Welles was six years old, his father gifted him that bandana, and it never left the young boys site. He carried that bandana everyone, especially under all of his uniforms in high school and college.

Photo: American Magezine

Welles dreamed of being an FDNY member. At 16, Crowther became a volunteer junior firefighter for Empire Hook and Ladder Company. As mentioned, he attended BC where he earned a degree in economics, which brought him back to NYC. He landed a job as an equities trader for Sandler O'Neil and Partners. His office sat on the 104th floor of the South Tower in part of the World Trade Center. On September 11th, 2001, his life along with others would be changed forever.

People describe the morning of September 11th, a bright and beautiful day. That atmosphere completely changed once the first plane struck the WTC. Crowther called his mother from his office at 9:12 a.m., leaving the message, "Mom, this is Welles. I wanted you to know that I'm OK." He immediately made his way down to the sky lobby of the 78th floor, where he ran into a group of survivors, some who were badly burned and injured. Without hesitation, Crowther carried an injured woman on his back and directed the group to a serviceable stairway. The survivors followed him down 17 floors, where it was more accessible to exit safely. From there, his job could have been done, he could have exited with them. But Welles was fearless and knew that this was not the case.

The smoke, haze, and debris were too much for someone to inhale. To protect him from the chaotic environment, Welles covered his face with his Red Bandana.

Welles found another group of survivors who were severely injured. According to one of the survivors, Crowther quickly attempted to put out the fires and began administering first aid to those who needed it. He announced to the group, that if anyone could stand to do so now, and if you can help, please do so. He directed the group to head downstairs. Help began to come and members of the FDNY made their way to where Crowther and the survivors were located. Welles AGAIN went back upstairs to help others. He was nonstop.

He was last seen doing so with members of the FDNY before the South Tower collapsed at 9:59 a.m.

There was no word from the young man after the events. The family tried to keep hope. As days turned to weeks, and weeks turned to months, there was still no word on if Welles survived. His heroics began to circulate, as the stories began being published in newspapers and on television about a young man assisting dozens. The reports stated that the hero was wearing a Red Bandana.

His family knew that it was there a loving son who was providing heroic actions. Sadly, his body was found in March 2002, alongside several firefighters and emergency workers bunched in a suspected command post in the South Tower lobby. He perished helping others, with his Red Bandana.

Photo: Boston College Website

19 years later, we still raise our glasses and cheers to Welles Crowther. We thank him for his incredible service and his heroic actions. People today should take a step back, and realize that it is more than just yourself. Be kind to others. Offer a helping hand when you can. Be the good the world so desperately needs.

If you are in the New York / New Jersey area, swing by Departed Soles Brewing Company and grab yourself a pint of the Red Bandana Pilsner.


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