National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

Roll of Honor

Age: 33
Year of Death: 2001

Thomas J. Hetzel

Tom was a wonderful‚ loving husband who adored his daughter‚ Amanda. He was a positive person and lover of life who always helped his family‚ friends‚ and neighbors. He dreamed of becoming a firefighter since he was a boy‚ and at 18‚ joined the local volunteer fire department. His dream of becoming a New York City fireman came true in October 1995 when he was inducted into the NYC Fire Service Academy.

An avid athlete‚ Tom played golf‚ softball‚ and was a superb skier‚ taking to the slopes of Colorado with his beloved wife annually. Tom was proud of his German heritage and often prepared traditional German meals at home and at his firehouse. He proudly played his German music‚ danced the polka‚ attended German festivals and was a member of two German social organizations.

He relished traveling abroad visiting family and touring the country with his wife and daughter.

Memorial Posts


Memorial Wall

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  1. Today I climbed to the 79th floor and rang the bell in honor of Tom and wanted to let you know how moved I was by his service and sacrifice! I’m also a father and husband and love skiing. I pray that you’ve found peace and know that I will remember him through out this year. I have a badge they gave me today and I plan to keep it in my car to remember him… I’m so sorry for your loss. My family and I will be praying for you.

    – Jeff Blackman
  2. I participated in the “climb the rocks” at Red Rocks Amphitheatre on 9/11/16 in Colorado. I was given Toms name and picture on a badge. I walked the equivalence of 110 stories in Toms memory. I pray for your family and hope they were able to find peace and happiness over time. I can’t imagine leaving my daughter behind at such a young age, he has sacrificed so much to help so many others! I am deeply sadden for your loss even after so many years. God bless you all!

    – Brandi
  3. I climbed the 110 flights at Red Rocks on 9/11 in memory of Tom. Remembering his and so many other’s sacrifice was moving and it was an honor to walk for the fallen. I will never forget.

    – Christi
  4. Today I climbed in honor of Thomas Hetzel for the 10th annual Red Rocks 9/11 stair climb. I did an additional 2 laps, to walk in their shoes those last steps as they gave their lives for our country, by helping to try to save others. There is no amount of thanks for what you all did on such a horrific day for our country. Your memory will live on forever Thomas, and this event will help to make sure that happens!

    – Kara
  5. My wife and I climbed the San Diego Memorial 911 Stair Climb and I was honored to climb in memory of such a wonderful man. We honor and send prayers to your family for continued peace and healing.

    – Mike Reuter
  6. Today I rang the bell for Tom in honor of him and I rang for two more men in 911. I am honored to have got his name and see who he was and I give my condolences to his family and friends. Thank you Tom for all you’ve done and rest in peace.

    – Keyta
  7. Today I climbed 110 flights of stairs In Omaha Nebraska In memory of Tom. I am so humbled to honor him as I am German also and my fathers name is Tom l.

    – Kim
  8. I did the 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb in Kalamazoo MI today, 9/11/19, and was proud to carry your photo along with the American flag. I said you name loud and rang the bell in your honor. Thank you for your service to your community. You will not be forgotten. <3

    – Beverly Rasler
  9. May he continue to rip. I‘ll never forget his name.

    – Aly
  10. This man was truly something special. He voluntarily took really beautiful portraits of every firefighter in his firehouse (L13, E22, B10) and made a beautiful display in their firehouse stairwell. Last I heard, his display is exactly how he left it and arguably, still the best part of the firehouse. It’s a very simple memory but one that I think speaks volumes to his character and who he was as a person and friend. He loved and respected his brothers, he was proud of them and all that they accomplished together, and unsurprisingly, went above and beyond to show how much he cared. Tommy, you were a rare gem in this world. Thank you for your sacrifice. Your brothers (and many, many others) are still keeping your legacy alive and strong.

    – Nic
  11. September 2021
    Dear Diana and Amanda
    On this, the 20th anniversary of Tom’s death, know his Firefighter family has not forgotten him. We will always remember what he did that day!!

    – Lisa hopman
  12. I used to ask you questions for the lieutenants test and you always got them right Doug Wilson L136

    – Doug Wilson
  13. Twenty years ago, Tom’s station in Yorkville was my local fire station. My now husband and I would walk past it on our way to work in the morning and the firefighters would be standing around out front saying hi to people as they passed. They were so friendly and always smiling. We were devastated by 9/11. We moved out of NYC soon after. But we never forgot those men. My heart still grieves for them and their families. Praying for peace and comfort for Tom’s family. His sacrifice is never forgotten.

    – Erin Andrin
  14. Just did the 9/11 climb at Lucas Oil Stadium during the FDIC convention.
    I am an avid stair climb racer and had wanted to do this climb for awhile.
    I was moved by the solemn ceremony of it and the sacrifice of the brave men that died on 9/11. My wife and I were on vacation on 9/11 and our initial plan was to go to NYC. It was too expensive so we went to Georgia instead.
    Anyway, Thomas was remembered this day as I rang the bell for him and Ladder 13.
    Hope Diana and Amanda have found peace that he is remembered.

    – Richard Feeley
  15. Today I climb for The Brotherhood Ride in Naples Florida. I carry Thomas J. Hetzel with me I will never forget. I climb with over 400 others.
    Thank you for service. God bless you and your family.

    – Deborah Magro
  16. Today I participated in a 5K run for the Tunnels to Towers foundation. I was very proud to carry Tom’s photo with me. We lost our son, Adam, to a felon who shot him while he was on duty with the Sacramento sheriffs department. I am praying for your family and hope that you find peace – God bless you. Doug Gibson

    – Douglass Gibson
  17. Saw the History Channel program that showed Tom’s story. HERO… What a bad ass. Hope you know how much we appreciate his sacrifice in California as well as across the nation

    – Zack
  18. On 9/9/23, I participated in the 6th Annual Nebraska 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb at Werner Park in memory of Thomas J. Hetzel. It was a honor to know that I was participating in an event that honors our nation’s fallen Firefighters. I have so much respect for Thomas and all of those who sacrificed their lives to save the lives of others. You will always be remembered. Thomas. I sincerely thank you for your service. God Bless you! #NeverForgotten – Jamey

    – Jamey Nalezinek
  19. Last night 9/9/2023 I climbed 110 flights of stairs carrying Thomas’s honor badge. I climbed for him and all his brothers and sisters who bravely ran toward what everyone else was running away from. I will never forget.

    – Dawn Halbrook
  20. I climbed in the 2023 Nashville 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb and rang the bell in Thomas’ honor. Rest in peace brother, you are remembered.

    – Angela
  21. Every September 11 Tom is remembered in a very special way. I had the joy of teaching him in fifth grade at Our Lady of Loretto in Hempstead, New York. I remember him well…also his family. Peace to all. Sister Mary McCauley,BVM

    – Mary McCauley, BVM