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Faustino Apostol Jr.

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When both of his daughters-in-law became pregnant in the spring of 1999, Faustino Apostol took a rooting interest. "I was due a month after," said Jennifer Apostol, the wife of Mr. Apostol's younger son, Christopher, "but Faust said he had his money on me." Mr. Apostol, 55, was the chief aide in Battalion 2 of the Fire Department, with 28 years on the force; he joked that he would quit only when the job stopped being fun. For the last 33 years, he had been married to his high school girlfriend. When they heard about the attacks on the World Trade Center, his family knew that he would be in the middle of the action. "That's how he was," Ms. Apostol said. "When my son was born, the hospital wouldn't even let my mother in. Faust made up a story to sneak in. I couldn't believe he was there. But he'd do anything for you. You didn't have to ask. My neighbors used to ask us, 'Where'd you find a babysitter who also mowed the lawn?' " This grateful American will never forget the courage of the men of the New York Fire Department. Lesser mortals such as myself can only try, in our small way, to emulate the bravery of New York's Bravest -- and never forget their sacrifice. I pray his grieving family will find some small comfort in knowing that he was the epitome of everything an American should be. -Jenni Simpson