11 Days of Heroes to September 11th: The Fathers’ Eight

Image from the 9/11 Memorial & Museum

“The Fathers’ Eight” or “Band of Dads” included Bill Butler, Paul Geidel, Lee Ielpi, Jack Lynch, Dennis O’Berg, Al Petrocelli, George Reilly, and John Vigiano Sr. Their adult children vanished after the collapse of the towers and they spent months at Ground Zero looking for their children. Mostly these men were retired New York City firefighters looking for missing sons, many who were in uniformed rescue services. The search group was more fluid in number.

Al Petrocelli’s son Mark worked in the North Tower as a commodities trader at Carr Futures, and John Vigiano Sr.’s two first-responder sons were missing. Lee Ielpi dug for his son Jonathan, who had reached his father on that Tuesday morning that his company was en route downtown. The fathers used hand shovels and small picks to sift through debris and hopefully identify parts of their children. Typically, the fathers had morning coffee before their shifts and updated each other with radio reports as they navigated different sections of the site.

Image from New York Magazine