I have the honor, and the priviledge, to write about one of our Fallen Brothers.
Ten years ago, the world stopped turning. When the four planes crashed, Fire, EMS, and Police were mobilized to help comb through the disaster, to do what we were trained to do for years; save lives. The brave men and women banded together to save hundreds of people from stairwells, piles of rubble and ash, and from various floors of the towers and rings of the Pentagon, but as is the risk for all of us when we gear up every morning, many of those who ran in did not go home that day.
Today, I am writing about Paramedic Carlos Lillo. He was one who did not go home that fatefull day.
I can honestly say that, before this, I knew very little about Paramedic Lillo, but now, from reading the website created by his brother, I can say I know a bit more about the wonderful man he was. I looked about the site initially and saw the normal fare for memorial sites, but something buried in the site captured my interest. It was a link to handwritten notes from his partner that day, Roberto Abril. Knowing partners, I figured I’d find something interesting in there as well. What I read caused my heart to break.
Their morning started off normally, the same way any of ours would. When the news of the towers being struck hit, Carlos’s first thought was to his wife who was working on the 64th floor; he wanted nothing more than to get to her. Roberto wrote about how he kept calling his wife frantically, desperately trying to get a hold of her to find out if she was okay. I can only imagine how he felt about not knowing the location of his beloved wife.
Once they arrived, Carlos got out of the ambulance and looked back long enough to tell his partner he’d be okay, to not worry, and he was gone. I can only imagine that, along the way, he stopped to render a kind word or some sort of aid to those he found. Whether it was the, “You’ll be okay, someone is coming…” or to just touch them, to let them know that someone was there to help, he did as such. He ran into the towers, frantically searching for his wife. She in turn was trying to call him, to let him know she was okay. His devotion to his wife and to his calling to help, protect, and save led him running into a scene where, even some of the strongest members of our craft ran from. He searched for her in vain, but I believe he also continued to render aid until the moment the towers collapsed.
I found myself wiping tears from my eyes, imagining myself in place of his partner, knowing that the moment he ran from the truck was going to be the last time he would be seen.
That day, a Brother made the ultimate sacrifice. I thank him, and the other 342 members of public safety who lost their lives that day, as well as the thousands of people; Black, White, Asian, Muslim, Catholic, Jewish, Arabic, ect.
To Medic Lillo’s family, I am sorry, so very sorry for your loss. This is a wound that time will not be able to heal completely, but I thank you from the bottom of my heart for shaping him into a man that was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in the face of unrelenting danger.
To Medic Lillo, I thank you for making the ultimate sacrifice. I know that you were met on the other side and given a heros’ welcome. I thank you for being the hero, for doing what you loved until the very end. Thank you.