Friends of Thomas "Tommy" Foley said he
always lived life to the fullest.
He was a rodeo rider. He skiied. He hunted. He was into sky
diving. A former college football player, he kept himself in
top shape and was good-looking enough to be named to People
Magazine's sexiest men lists - not once but twice. And as
one colleague said, "All the women loved Tommy."
But the thing that Foley, 32, loved most was fighting fires
and saving people.
"He'd come out of a fire, filthy, coughing, covered in black
soot and when he'd see you he'd have that big smile on his
face and a big 'hello' for you," said John Coyle, a
firefighter for Ladder Company 14. "He was a real good
fireman. He just loved it."
Foley, who worked for the Rescue 3 squad on East 176th
Street in the Bronx, will be among the 14 firefighters who
will have funerals or memorial services Saturday. His
brother, Danny Foley, a firefighter who searched at Ground
Zero for Tommy Foley, was with the group that found his
To his friends, it came as no surprise that Foley was among
the men who charged into the Twin Towers after the terrorist
attacks Sept. 11.
"He'd be the guy leading the charge into the fire," one
firefighter, who didn't want to give his name, said at
Foley's wake in West Nyack Friday afternoon. "That's just
the kind of guy Tommy was."
In August 1999, Foley made headlines after being lowered by
rope from the roof of a 12-story building in Manhattan to
save two construction workers whose scaffolding had
But it was Foley's face, not his heroic feats, that earned
him the most publicity.
First he was named by People magazine as one of the sexiest
"Men@Work." Then in June 2000, Foley landed at number 10 of
People's list of the Top 100 eligible bachelors, along with
the likes of heartthrobs George Clooney and Derek Jeter.
"I used to love to break his chops about that all the time,"
Coyle said. "Everyone did. I was with my mom once when I saw
him and I introduced her, 'Mom, this is one of the sexiest
men alive. What do you think of that?' He blushed. He was
always very bashful about it."
Retired firefighter Mark Kwalwasser, 45, said Foley was
"just a sweetheart of a kid who was very happy and loved the
"If Tommy had to go, I think this is the way he would want
it - to go out helping people."