William ‘Billy’ Johnston‚ age 31‚ was fulfilling a life long dream as a New York City firefighter on the tragic day of September 11‚ 2001. Billy graduated from the fire academy as the first class in the year 2000. Shortly after‚ he became a member of Engine Company 276‚ Ladder 156 in Brooklyn and was on a one-year rotation to Engine Company 6 in downtown Manhattan. Billy was one of four from his company who died in the World Trade Center attacks.
Billy grew up in North Babylon and is survived by his parents‚ William and Joy‚ his brother Robert‚ sisters Diane and Christine‚ brother-in-law Harry‚ and his new nephew John William.
Billy graduated from North Babylon High School in 1987 where he was an astounding athlete. He loved sports and was a die-hard Jet‚ Yankee and Ranger fan. He played many sports but his ultimate love was soccer. Billy played in the Empire State Games for the past two years and his team took home the bronze and the gold.
As soon as Billy became a member of the FDNY he joined the football‚ softball‚ and basketball teams. He was the kicker for the Bravest Football Club and was a left fielder on the 2001 FDNY city championship softball team. In fact‚ Billy spent his last weekend doing what he loved-playing ball with his FDNY brothers in a softball tournament in Maryland. His fellow firefighters at the tournament will always remember him as the guy with the Gilligan hat.
Billy was not only known for his athleticism‚ he was very loyal to family and friends. He has maintained life long friendships with his buddies from elementary school. He traveled and spent a lot of time with his friends‚ especially his best friend John Kolich who is a New York City Police officer. John recalls having a conversation with Billy just prior to September 11th where the two were comparing the danger in their jobs. John believed that firemen encounter more danger and asked Billy‚ ‘How do you do it?’ ‘How do you go into a burning building‚ with a raging fire and thick smoke?’
Billy was loyal to his job as a New York City fireman by saving others. He died doing what he loved and he will be deeply missed.