The 2024 23rd Anniversary Run

About Deputy Chief Raymond M. Downey

After serving with the U.S. Marine Corps in the Middle East, Ray Downey was appointed to the New York City Fire Department in 1962. Chief Downey’s phenomenal 39-year career with the FDNY was built upon success after success and rescue after rescue. One of the most decorated men in the department, Chief Downey received five individual medals for valor and 16 unit citations. Additionally, referred to as “The Master of Disaster” and “God”, Downey, commanding officer of the Special Operations Command (SOC), died in the line of duty while helping others escape from the fire and collapse scene of the World Trade Center on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. He was truly a legend in his own time. 

The Deputy Chief Raymond M. Downey Scholarship Charity Fund All proceeds from the race will benefit the organizations supported by the family of Ray Downey.

Scholarship Charity Fund

As a tribute to Chief Downey's legacy, his family has established the D.C. Raymond Downey Scholarship Charity Fund to keep his memory alive and to benefit the many organizations that Chief Downey cherished.

Read more

Race Times / Results / Awards

In Memory of DC Ray Downey

"Many New Yorkers were surprised to learn Chief Downey was actually in the towers and not coordinating the rescue efforts from a secure location.

"To those who knew him best, this was no surprise. Truly great leaders display the same courage they ask of those they lead."

Downey's five children also will speak, sharing special memories of their courageous father. They are Joe, an FDNY captain; Chuck, an FDNY lieutenant; Kathy Ugalde and Ray Jr., both schoolteachers; and Marie Tortorici, a housewife.

And with their mother, Downey's widow Rosalie, they will offer a special prayer - a poem that was etched on a plaque sent to them by members of a Colorado fire department after the trade center collapse.

Called "The Broken Chain," the poem's author is unknown. It ends with "Our family chain is broken, and nothing seems the same; but as God calls us one by one, the chain will link again."

One of those unable to attend the service is Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating, who befriended Downey in 1995 when the FDNY chief flew to Oklahoma City after the bombing of the Murrah federal building. Downey helped shore up the collapsed structure so rescue and recovery operations could get under way.

Keating, who is recovering from back surgery, sent a top aide, the Oklahoma City fire chief and a contingent of firefighters to the memorial to represent him.

The memorial service will begin at 11 a.m. at Sts. Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church in Deer Park.


Go to top