Michael Clarke, Class of 1992

Michael Clarke was born on January 11,1974 in Bay Ridge Memorial Hospital. Although born in Brooklyn, he was brought home to his families' new home in Prince's Bay, Staten Island. As a young student, Michael was accepted into a gifted program at PS 55 and then attended IS 7, followed by Monsignor Farrell High School.

During his early years, Michael enjoyed playing baseball for South Shore Little League. The summer before entering Farrell, Michael and his neighborhood friends started playing roller hockey and Michael, given his size, volunteered to be the goaltender.  Little did he know that this would start his hockey career both on wheels and on skates. Michael played in the Richmond Roller Hockey League and at the age of 16, he and his team enjoyed an undefeated season and won the league championship. Michael was also a member of the winning team in the league's All-Star game.

During his years at Farrell, Michael showed he could be equally skilled at goaltending on ice skates as he was on in-line skates. He learned how to ice skate so he could try out for the Farrell hockey team, and earned a spot as the team's goalie.

After graduating  Farrell in 1992, Michael attended Wagner College where he continued to play hockey. He graduated with a degree in business in 1996. In addition to his passion for hockey, Michael enjoyed teaching what he knew to younger players as an assistant coach for the Saint Peters Boy's hockey team, and then as an assistant coach for Saint Joseph's by the Sea's Boys hockey team.

Although Michael came from a family of police officers, he decided to enter the FDNY Fire Academy in the summer of 1998. After graduating from the academy, Michael was assigned to Engine 160 on Staten Island. He would rotate through Ladder 2 in Midtown Manhattan and Engine 6 on Beekman Street in Downtown  Manhattan, before returning briefly to Engine 160 at the end of June 2001. Michael enjoyed the atmosphere of being in Manhattan and was inspired by how the busy houses that he worked in could help so many people. With the recommendation and support of his former Capitan at Ladder 2, Michael was permanently reassigned to the Midtown house.

On September 11, 2001, Michael chose to cover a morning tour for a fellow firefighter. That morning, Michael had house watch and was the one to inform the firehouse that a plane had struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Ladder 2 was dispatched after the second plane hit the South Tower and were ordered to report to the second tower. It is believed that Ladder 2 became stuck behind responding emergency vehicles and choose to enter the North Tower. Upon arrival, Michael was seen by a firefighter from Rescue 5 whom he had worked with and he and Michael proceeded to playfully banter over the upcoming NHL season. Michael, being a true-blue NY Ranger fan, and the other firefighter being a diehard NJ Devils fan. He told Michael to keep his head up and Michael smiled and entered the North Tower. Ladder 2 was observed as high as the 27/28th floor in their attemps to reach victims trapped above.

Michael was recovered on September 29th and was laid to rest on October 10, 2001 at the Cemetery of the Resurrection on Staten Island.

 

 

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