This Foundation was established by the Family and Friends of Michael Francis Joseph Lynch, FDNY Badge # 2315. It is a charitable foundation dedicated to providing educational opportunities to the children of firefighters, both fallen and active, as well as children of other victims of the September 11th attacks.
Michael Lynch, a Son, Brother, Uncle, Fiancée, Relative and Friend, sacrificed his life along with 342 other firefighters at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. This foundation was created to honor Michael's sacrifice and memory. The generosity of the people who loved Michael, and of many who never knew him, has enabled us to build a hope-filled vision for the future by assisting families that were impacted by these events. Though his career was ended too soon, we take comfort in knowing that Michael loved his work. We hope this scholarship program will allow these students to pursue their dreams.
Michael was permanently assigned to Ladder 32, Engine 62, also known as the "Gun Hill Gang" in The Bronx, New York. On September 11th, Michael was on rotation to Engine 40, Ladder 35 on the Upper Westside of Manhattan. He had been assigned to that company for a few months when these events occurred.
On September 11th, the second day into a 24 hour tour, Michael, along with fellow firefighters from Engine 40/Ladder 35, responded to the calls for help at the World Trade Center. Twelve out of thirteen firefighters from E40/L35 were lost that day.
Michael was last seen entering WTC Building 4 at the corner of Church and Liberty Streets with other firefighters from Engine 40. This event was captured by a news cameraman and provided us with information that later became valuable in the recovery process. We learned that his company was headed to the lobby of Tower 2. We soon realized that Michael was located in the South Tower when it fell.
This website originally began as an effort to find Michael. Like so many other families, we were hopeful that Michael might have been spared, either by finding a safe place in a void under the rubble or being sent to a hospital somewhere. We provided identifying information about Michael in the hope that someone would recognize him. A guest book was started and soon we began receiving messages of support from family, friends, and strangers all over the world ( See Guestbook).
Our hopes for a rescue diminished and became instead the painful realization that we must now hope for recovery. The hours, days, weeks and months that followed were agonizing for our family and friends. Throughout this ordeal, firefighters from Companies L32/L62, E40/L35, and others offered their constant support. Active firefighters Tommy Warkenthien, Mike Morrissey, Mike Kotula, and Ray Pfeiffer, along with Captains Don Ubell, Bill Chilson, Jim Gormley and retired firefighters Lee Ielpi and Bill Butler kept us informed about the recovery effort.
We are forever indebted to these brave men who found it in their hearts to help us while enduring unimaginable pain of their own.
On December 7, 2001, just a few days prior to what would have been Michael's 31st birthday, our family held a Memorial Mass to pay tribute to Michael and to comfort us as we waited. It was not an easy decision for our family to have a memorial without recovery but we felt it was important to provide an opportunity for all who loved Michael to express grief, condolences, respect, and admiration for his courage.
Still, family and friends continued to keep a vigil and wait for news of Michaels' recovery. Michael's family and friends continued to go to Ground Zero, watching over, and participating in, the recovery effort.
On March 21st, 2002, we received news that Michael had been found.
Michael's father, Jack, and brother-in-law, Tom Baker, had spent the day working on the recovery effort. On the drive home, Jack received a phone call from retired firefighter, Lee Ielpi, who had already found his son and with whom Jack worked almost daily at Ground Zero. Lee simply told Jack to "get in your car and come back. Please don't rush". Jack knew what this meant. He and Tom went to the Bronx and told Michael's mother Kathleen what Lee said. Kathleen and Jack now faced certain truth. Michael was gone.
While Jack returned to Ground Zero, Kathleen contacted Michael's siblings and fiancée. All the siblings and spouses who were in the area immediately went to Ground Zero.
At the site, we found that firefighters from both of Michael's companies were present. In fact, it was some of his fellow firefighters, and cousin FF Mike Morrissey who first found Michael. FF Tom Warkenthien stood beside the Stokes stretcher, which was covered with an American Flag, and said to Jack "Thank God we found him".
Although family members advised to stand at the top of the bridge road until the Honor Guard brought Michael up the ramp, we insisted on being allowed to go to bedrock the bottom of the site. We were escorted by our nephew and cousin, NYPD Sgt. John O'Hara. Finally, we were able to carry Michael, out of Ground Zero.
Like so many other families, we hoped that we could immediately bury Michael in sacred ground. However, we learned that DNA tests had to be performed. The Medical Examiner informed us that when Michael was found, he was either carrying a woman or shielding her with his coat. Their remains were mingled.
Our wait was not over but, knowing how important it was to us to find Michael, we understood that it was absolutely necessary for the ME to see if he could identify this woman who died in Michael's arms. It is our hope that someday we will learn her identity.
On May 3, 2002, we finally held a Mass of the Resurrection at St. Frances de Chantal Church, Michael's home parish in the Bronx. Michael's uncle, Theodore Cardinal McCarrick said the Mass. In his homily, Uncle Ted said:
"All of us are asked to live for others, some of us are asked to die for others".
These words are inscribed on Michael's headstone. Michael was laid to rest in Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Valhalla, New York. Now that the ordeal of recovering Michael is finally over, we have a place to visit him and communicate with his spirit.
We do not understand the hatred and evil that led to the acts of September 11th but we place our trust in God, in good times and in bad times. With His grace, love and peace will prevail and we await the day that we will be united with our brave Michael in heaven.
To learn more about the Lynch family and the life of Michael, you are welcome to review the photo album. The Guestbook was started soon after the attack and contains kinds thoughts and prayers from friends, family, and well-wishers from all over the world. You are welcome to share your share your thoughts.
YOU ARE MY UNCLE
A Poem, By Ryan Baker, Age 10
You are my uncle
You were a fireman
You were a great fisherman.
But when some towers collapsed
You have died with honor
You were my uncle