As the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center approaches, community members are taking a moment to sing the praises of a woman who became the first daughter of a fallen 9/11 firefighter to join the FDNY.
Josephine Smith was 21 when her dad Kevin, a 23-year member of the FDNY, died in the collapse of the Twin Towers while responding to the attack. The Mastic fireman’s daughter is now a seven-year FDNY veteran.
“We lost Kevin, a Mastic resident and first responder, who gave his life saving others 20 years ago on September 11,” Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine posted on Facebook, while sharing a reprint of a story about the Smiths that was produced by the Tunnel to Towers Foundation. “His daughter Josephine honors his legacy by following in his footsteps as a member of the FDNY.”
The Mastic Beach Fire Department and others also shared the Tunnel to Towers article, which details how Josephine Smith’s passion growing up was to become a firefighter and work alongside her father. Kevin Smith, 47, was a charter member of its Hazardous Materials Company 1 (HAZMAT).
Josephine Smith’s inspiring story has been shared over and over — since her graduation from the New York City Fire Academy made national news in November 2014.
Smith recalled then how it was a bittersweet day. She said she was “proud, happy, excited,” and “sad that my father couldn’t be here.”
Kevin Smith had rushed to the World Trade Center along with members of his HAZMAT company and crews in Squad 288 from the firehouse they share in Maspeth, Queens. The two units lost a combined 19 members on Sept. 11.
The deaths from that one firehouse left 51 children fatherless, according to Tunnels to Towers. Kevin Smith, alone, was survived by eight children.
“Josephine is devoted to a life of putting service before self,” reads the Tunnel to Towers story. “Not only does she honor her father each day she puts on the uniform, she’s serves as a tremendous role model, encouraging and inspiring women interested in becoming firefighters to follow their dreams.”
Kevin Smith and his family volunteered with the East Farmingdale Fire Department‚ the Mastic Fire Department and the Mastic Ambulance Company. A Mastic Beach street — Mastic Road near Somerset Avenue — was named “Kevin J. Smith Road” in 2008 to honor the fallen firefighter.
A memorial in honor of Smith is located at the corner of Mastic Road and Riverside Avenue. It features a piece of steel from the World Trade Center.
Above photo: Facebook