Brooklawn Students Hear from a Mom Wearing a Red Bandana

PARSIPPANY — Brooklawn Middle School students heard a presentation from Alison Crowther, the mother of Welles Crowther, a man who led people to safety after terrorists struck the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

She showed the students a video produced by ESPN entitled “The Man in the Red Bandana” which told the story of the last hour of her son’s life.

This event was sponsored by the Parsippany Education Foundation.

Welles Remy Crowther was born on Tuesday, May 17, 1977 at Lying-In Hospital, New York Hospital, NYC. From a very early age on he exhibited fine qualities. He was always polite and well-spoken even from a very early age. He was caring of others, especially his little sister, Honor, and very protective, with a strong sense of duty. He also was tremendously self-disciplined from a very early age.

These qualities of sense of duty and caring for others were a solid part of Welles’ character all throughout his life. His Nyack and college friends, as well as his family, knew this about Welles. He was especially devoted to his family: his parents, two sisters, Honor and Paige, and his grandparents. He was deeply fond of his uncles, aunts, and cousins, as well, and had a strong and enduring sense of family, always. Welles began his life in Pomona, NY, but his family moved to Upper Nyack, NY when Welles was 7 years old. Thus most of his school experiences and early friendships, from 2nd grade onward, were based in Nyack.

Welles attended Upper Nyack Elementary School, joined the Cub Scouts, then Boy Scouts, played Little League baseball and Pop Warner football. For three summers he was the Rockland County Diving Champion for his age group, and participated in sailing and tennis camps in Nyack. Welles then attended Nyack Middle School where he began to play lacrosse and ice hockey in addition to the other sports. He attended Camp Becket, Becket, MA, then he began to attend specialized summer programs for ice hockey and lacrosse. Welles also enjoyed and excelled at skiing, tennis, sailing and, later, golf.

While he was in high school, at the age of 16, Welles joined Empire Hook & Ladder Co., No. 1, Upper Nyack, NY as a junior member. When he turned 18, Welles completed the New York State training program in firematics and became a full member of the company, fighting fires and dealing with emergency situations. Before his death he started make plans of joining the FDNY full time.

Welles attended Boston College, where he played varsity men’s lacrosse for four years whose trademark was a red bandana. He graduated in 1999 with a degree in Economics. He was active with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a Boston College program that worked with underprivileged youngsters in the Boston area.

After graduation, Welles lived in Hoboken, NJ with Boston College friends for the first year and then in Greenwich Village, NYC with a friend he had met while in Spain.

Welles worked as an intern with the investment banking firm of Sandler O’Neill & Partners during the summer of 1997. During the summer of 1998, he traveled to Spain to participate in a summer program organized by Syracuse University, studying foreign markets. After graduation, Welles joined Sandler O’Neill & Partners, 2 World Trade Center, 104th floor, NYC, working first in research and then as an equities trader after earning his Series 7 license.

On September 11, 2001, minutes after United Airlines Flight 175 struck the South Tower between floors 78 and 85 at 9:03 a.m., Crowther called his mother from his office at 9:12 a.m., leaving the message, “Mom, this is Welles. I wanted you to know that I’m OK.”  After that he naturally and courageously sprung into action.  It is now observed that Crowther saved as many as 18 people before the tower collapsed on him, leading to his demise.  Many of the survivors relayed stories of the man who saved them.  A hero that was wearing a red bandana.

It was the same red bandana he was wearing when the rescuers discovered his body at the World Trade Center site in March of 2002.