Sergeant Michael S. Curtin
Shield 3256

Water recoveries. Auto extractions. Cajoling deranged gunmen into straitjackets. Talking jilted lovers down from a ledge on the George Washington Bridge. As squad sergeant for Truck Company 2 of the Police Department's Emergency Service Unit, Michael Curtin never knew what kind of risky rescue operation he and his men might be asked to perform on any given day.

But he believed in being prepared. On Sundays or slow days, when New York residents managed to keep themselves out of mortal peril, Sergeant Curtin, 45, a former marine who served in the Gulf War, did not let his squad members just sit around. Instead, he would drill them on old skills and teach them new ones — like how to wire a police van by tapping into a telephone pole.

"If you wanted an epitome of an E cop, that would be Michael Curtin," said Robert Yaeger, an officer with Truck 2, using the police lingo for an Emergency Service Unit officer. "He was always thinking on his feet and wanted you to think on your feet, too."

Not that Sergeant Curtin was all work and no play. At the end of those Sunday morning training sessions, he would fry up an outsize Marine Corps breakfast for all: sloppy eggs, sausage and bacon seasoned with his favorite red, blue and green spices.

On Sept. 11, Sergeant Curtin, the father of three athletic teenage girls, was due back in the kitchen of his home in Medford, N.Y., again -- this time, to make a birthday dinner for his wife, Helga.
- The New York Times 12/19/2001.

Helga Curtin of Medford turned 40 on Sept. 11. Her husband, Michael, planned a small get-together with 10 of the couple's closest friends on the previous Friday night since neither could afford a late night on Tuesday. After returning from work on the 11th, Curtin, 45, was to cook his wife "a nice meal," his wife said. But his plan never came to fruition.

A member of Harlem-based Emergency Service Unit Truck 2 of the New York City Police Department, Michael Sean Curtin of Medford is presumed dead in the World Trade Center attacks. He was last heard from that morning when he phoned his wife to wish her a happy birthday, his wife said.

Born in Liberty, N.Y., Curtin's family moved to Long Island when he was a child. He graduated from Rocky Point High School in 1975 and enlisted in the Marine Corps shortly after. Curtin was called to active duty for the next 12 years and was discharged last year with the rank of sergeant major.

Somewhere between basic training and active duty, Curtin found time for love. He and his wife met on Christmas Eve 1979 on Parris Island. "I went down there with roommates over Christmas Eve break," his wife said. "One of them was dating Michael's roommate, so that's how we met."

A Marine through and through, Curtin held his family to a staunch standard of conduct, his wife said. But there were no push-ups for insubordination or three-mile runs for misbehavior. "He always stressed loyalty and discipline," his wife said. "But it was never done aggressively."

An avid local sports fan, Curtin seldom sat in front of a television to watch a game. Instead, he would attend as many of his daughters' basketball, field hockey, volleyball, soccer and lacrosse games as he could, his wife said. "The only sports he ever really watched were when his kids played."

She described her husband as "a very involved father," who "always encouraged his kids to do whatever they wanted to do."

The couple's three daughters - Jennifer, 15, Erika, 14, and Heather, 12 - have endured the holidays without their father, she said. "The holidays have been awful," she said. But, she said, the family has faced reality, and is "trying to get through things day by day."

But their void is felt, nonetheless. "We always worked with one another, and I always bounced my thoughts off of him," she said. "We had a genuine respect. I would always turn to him, and now he's not there to turn to. The thing I miss the most about him is him."
- New York Newsday Victim Database 1/4/2002

Sergeant Michael S. Curtin, 45, was appointed to the NYPD on January 26, 1988, after serving 12 years of active duty in the United States Marine Corps. He began his career on patrol in Field Training Unit 13. He was originally assigned to ESU in July 1991, but saw his police career interrupted when, as a USMC reservist, he was called to duty during Desert Storm. Serving on the front lines, he held the rank of gunnery sergeant and retired from the Reserves as a Sergeant Major. After returning to the NYPD, he responded to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and was also assigned to FEMA in the Oklahoma City rescue efforts. He was promoted to sergeant in December 1995, and re-assigned to ESU in 1998. Although he had recently taken up golf, most of his spare time was spent working on his house. He is survived by his wife Helga; children Jennifer, Erika, and Heather; and brother Jack.
- SPRING 3100, Commemorative Issue

(patch created by a volunteer for the
CubScout Pack 233 Memorial American Flag Quilt)

(patch from Barnum Woods Elementary School Quilt)