Chris Sullivan sounds like an ordinary, very contented man.
He married his high-school sweetheart, and they had two sons: Sean, aged six back in 2001, when September 11 rolled around, and Brian, aged four at the time.
Lieutenant Sullivan, 39, was a firefighter at Ladder 11 and Engine 214 in Brooklyn. A big man at 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds, Sullivan wore a flat-top haircut and carried a muscular build from years of weight lifting.
"The main thing about him was that he was an excellent father," his wife said. "He'd come home after working 24 hours and the boys would want to play, and he played. He took them hiking and camping. He also did everything at home, from cooking to cleaning. We were a real team. The kids didn't have their Dad long, but they got a lot from him"
"Chris had a heart of gold, but no one pushed him around," said his dad, "which made him perfect for firefighting. He loved his job so much. We really respected the men he worked with."
Chris' brother, Robert, said Chris will be remembered as an all-around family man who cooked and cared for his sons on days he didn't have to go to the firehouse and for his positive outlook, strong faith in God and penchant for practical jokes. "Every day, he lived life to the fullest," Robert Sullivan said. "You couldn't rattle the guy that easy. He was just easygoing and enjoyed things." Robert said his brother would have been philosophical about death and the days ahead. "I think he would say we shouldn't worry about the guys who died, that God would take care of them," he added. "He would say that we need to focus on the country, stick together and do what's right."
"When all is said and done, if my brother had to do that again, he would," said Robert. "That's the kind of guy he was."
Chris was last seen September 11 racing up the stairs inside One World Trade Center with members of Engine Co. 214 to help evacuate those still inside. He is believed to have perished when the tower collapsed.
Chris had decided to grow pumpkins for the first time in 2001, and his family used the resulting produce to make pumpkin bread on Thanksgiving.
What a gaping hole was left in so many lives when Chris was taken from this world in the World Trade Center disaster. Indeed, what a loss to the world, to have someone like this man die at so young an age.
This will be a sticky post, staying at the top until Saturday.