Yesterday, as a community at Fire Station 5 on Babcock Street not to mourn or to denounce acts of terror, but to celebrate the lives of the heroes of 9/11. In particular, a 1988 graduate of and a New York City Firefighter, Manuel Del Valle Jr.
Del Valle came to Brookline in 1984 with his family from the Bronx. His step-father, Peter Moyer recalled that the first words Manny uttered entering Boston was "the Red Sox suck" but that his sentiment changed after a month, as he became a fan.
Popular among his friends and teachers, Manny played football, wrestled but found his niche running track. He was a team player, never complained and championed causes he believed in. Graduating from Brookline High School he moved on to the University of Maryland and finally realized his dream of becoming a firefighter in 1994.
Manny was assigned to Engine 5 on September 11, 2001 and was one of the first fire companies to respond to the World Trade Center. He loved people and firefighting and so it was no surprise to those who knew Manny that he would don his gear and race into the Towers to save lives even if his cost him his own life.
This morning, a bench was dedicated in Manny's memory on the front lawn of Station 5 in Collidge Corner. In addition to his family and friends, firefighters from the FDNY as well as Brookline Firefighters recalled their memories of 9/11 and Manny's role on that day.