Firefighter Mark P. Whitford was a man who found his perfect dream. At age 31 he had a wonderful family‚ his wife Rene_ and his twin sons Matthew and Timothy. Nothing made him happier then spending time with his family.
Mark had just moved his family from Staten Island to Salisbury Mills‚ New York a year before his death. While growing up in Staten Island‚ Mark found he had incredible talent in the sport of wrestling. He accomplished a wrestling career that included a PSAL championship for Totenville High School and he qualified for the NCAA Championships while competing for Seton Hall University. Just this past May the National Wrestling Hall of Fame honored Mark by awarding him the Medal of Courage‚ along with Chief Raymond Downey and Jeremy Glick.
Mark also took great pride in the role of Captain in the United States Army Reserves. Mark was extremely patriotic and was happy to serve his country. He was well respected by all the men and women under his command.
In his free time‚ Mark loved to go hiking and climbing at Bear Mountain in New York. He also loved to scuba dive and was at home in the outdoors. He was a rugged man who always loved a challenge. That is why being a firefighter came so natural to him.
In 1998‚ Mark graduated from the fire academy and was assigned to Engine Company 23 in Manhattan. He also spent some time working in Ladder 147 in Brooklyn and Engine 152 in Staten Island. On the eve of September 11th he found out that he would soon be called to join the elite Rescue 5.
Around the firehouse Mark was known for his great cooking and Cajun popcorn. He loved playing jokes on everyone and could always be counted on to make his friends laugh. He took great pride in his job: one of the proudest moments was when he helped deliver a baby girl whose mother couldn’t make it to the hospital.
Mark was a giant of a man in stature and an equal in compassion and a love for life. At age 31 he fully understood and appreciated each precious moment he spent with family and friends. In his own words‚ Time does not matter. It is what we do during that time which does.
– Renee Whitford