As a firefighter, Capt. Patrick Waters tried everything, learning all he could about every aspect of his job at some of the busiest stations in the city.
That same passion was reflected in his roles as a family man and a Middle Village resident, where he coached Little League, hockey and basketball teams, ran the PTA at his sons' school and headed up church fund-raisers.
The ever-present spirit of the fire captain who lost his life trying to save others in the World Trade Center attacks will live on now that 69th Road has been renamed Capt. Patrick Waters Street, with a sign posted just across the street from his home.
More than 200 people came out to the unveiling of the new street sign Sunday at the intersection of 69th Road and 74th Street to honor Waters, who would have turned 46 this year.
"You looked out on New York City and you saw the towers," said Father John Fullum, from Sacred Heart Church in Glendale, who gave the opening prayer. "You looked out our rectory and you saw Pat."
Waters was a captain with the hazardous materials unit of the Special Operations Command in Manhattan, said Deputy Chief Mark Ferran. On Sept. 11, Waters was at the FDNY's medical offices for a routine physical. When news of the attacks reached him, Waters and others at the office ran out the door and over the Brooklyn Bridge to the Trade Center.
"He didn't have to go because he was a fire officer, but he went because of the man he was," Ferran said.
Waters started his career with the Fire Department at an engine company in Bedford-Stuyvesant, one of the most active stations in the city, Ferran said. From there he moved to Ladder 108, and then served as a lieutenant with Ladder 106 in Queens, where he learned life-saving techniques, Ferran said.
In 1998, while Waters was at Ladder 106, the India Street Pier collapsed, sending eight people into the East River. Waters jumped into the frigid water without waiting to put on his protective gear, and helped a woman stay afloat until she could be hauled to safety, Ferran said.
Waters also worked with a tower ladder unit to learn how to battle bigger fires, and joined the Special Operations Command to learn hazmat operations, Ferran said.
"He's got to know everything a firefighter can know," he said. "He just wanted to learn everything his could and teach others."
Off-duty, Waters worked just as hard as a community and church member, and a family man, said City Councilman Dennis Gallagher (R-Middle Village), who sponsored the bill to rename 69th Road. Waters was a coach for Ridgewood-Glendale-Middle Village-Maspeth Little League, Sacred Heart Church basketball, and the 104th Precinct hockey team, Gallagher said. Waters also organized fund-raisers for the church and the school, including a weekly parish dance for the church's teens, Ferran said.
"He was a remarkable man," Gallagher said. "This will be a reminder of a leader in the community, a loving family man and a true American hero."
The sign and street name will also serve as a reminder of the Sept. 11 attacks, said Assemblyman Michael Cohen (D-Forest Hills).
"A hundred years from now, prospective home buyers will ask home owners here who was Capt. Pat Waters," Cohen said. "The deeds he performed on that day and the deeds performed by his fellow firefighters will never be forgotten by the people who live on 69th Road and 74th Street."
But the sign serves as more than a reminder to Waters' family, including his wife Janice and sons Daniel, 11, and Christopher, 15.
"To see it outside the house everyday, it feels like he's still with us," said Janice Waters.
Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.
©2003 Community News Group
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