National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

Roll of Honor

Deputy Chief
Age: 63
Year of Death: 2001

Raymond M. Downey Sr.

Age: 63
Wife: Rosalie. Children: Kathy‚ Raymond‚ Charles‚ Marie and Joseph. Nine grandchildren. Raymond M. Downey was born in Sunnyside‚ Queens‚ and for over 40 years‚ he and his wife Rosalie have lived in Deer Park‚ raising their family of five children.

His colleagues affectionately referred to Chief Downey‚ chief in charge of the Special Operations Command‚ as God and Master of Disaster. One of FDNY’s most decorated firefighters and a bona fide department icon‚ his accomplishments are legendary and monumental.

Ray was a panel member of the presidential committee on terrorism known as the Gilmore Commission‚ which has been assessing domestic response capabilities for terrorism involving weapons of mass destruction. As a founding member of the FEMA Urban Search & Rescue Team network‚ he responded to the Walton Floods and the 2000 ice storm in upstate New York; Hurricanes Hugo‚ Andrew‚ Fran‚ Marilyn‚ Opal and Georges; and the bombing at the Atlanta Olympics. He was the FEMA Operations Chief at the Oklahoma City bombing‚ and several of the major hurricanes. Ray authored the book The Rescue Company and he created a series of videos on collapse operations.

He was the recipient of the Crystal Apple Award issued by Mayor Rudy Giuliani on July 23‚ 2001. After his death‚ he received the Department of the Navy Distinguished Public Service Award‚ the Congressional Fire Services Institute Mason Langford Award‚ and the Medal of Courage Award upon induction into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. In his home community‚ a local road and the post office were renamed in his honor.

His family was the center of his life‚ especially his wife Rosalie.

Memorial Posts


Memorial Wall

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  1. A true hero in every sense of the word .Gone to soon but I’m sure you are looking down on your wonderful family with love and pride.You left behind a great legacy rest in peace we will never forget???

    – Pat Keegan
  2. I had the privilege of carrying the memorial badge of Raymond at the memorial stair climb in Green Bay today. It was an honor and I would just like to say thank you for the sacrifice you have made and it was my pleasure to complete the climb in his honor. I pray for peace for your family, rest easy brother.

    – Alex Timm
  3. I also had the privilege of carrying Chief Raymond’s badge at the memorial stair climb in Green Bay. Even in death, he is a great motivator and inspiration. I found the climb difficult to finish, but refused to give up with this mans badge on my turnout gear. I was proud to complete it in his honor. What an incredible life he lived. To his family, know that he will never be forgotten and is still touching lives. Rest easy brother.

    – Andrew Hockberger
  4. My 13 year old son climbed in Green Bay on 9/10/16 with the badge of Chief Raymond Downey. He is very interested in becoming a firefighter like his dad and finished the last part of the climb with his dads fire coat on. He was very interested in learning more about Chief Downey and his history as a firefighter. Thank you for continuing to inspire and teach even after your passing. RIP.

    – Dawn Novitski
  5. I had the privilege of wearing this spectacular man’s badge in the Run For The Fallen 5k in Kronnenwetter, WI. He was truly an inspiration for me to keep pushing even when I wanted to give up.

    Thank you for your service sir. I was proud to carry you with me and always will.

    – Jennifer Quelle
  6. It was an honor to wear the badge of your husband and father today in Green Bay Wisconsin. I read about him and words cannot express my feelings for your family then, now and in the future. As I climbed the steps commemorating the fallen, my heart was heavy. I will never forget the day Raymond and so many others unnecessarily lost their lives.

    – Catherine M. Hinkle
  7. I will be joining the 11th annual 9-11 stair climb at red rocks this year (2019) and I will be walking up those stairs in your honor!!

    – Jadan luke
  8. Thinking of you today.
    Such a great man. As soon as I saw the news on that terrible day, I immediately thought of you, and I knew you would be there to help in any way possible.
    Sending love to you and your family. ❤️xo

    – Kerry Peters
  9. It was great to be a participant this year in the Memorial Race. The cause is still supporting Downey’s life mission; keeping his will alive; that’s the meaning of a Legacy Race. Wishing everyone in Deer Park; a wonderful 2021 Summer.

    – Maryann Maltese
  10. I had the privilege of wearing the memorial badge of Raymond today at work. It was an honor to pay tribute to a true hero. I would like to say thank you for all he did in his many years of service to this great country. I pray for you and your family as we remember all that was given and lost twenty years ago. RIP

    – Kay Meyer
  11. From what I’ve read, you seem like an extremely accomplished, genuine person. 20 years and we still remember your bravery, it is an inspiration to us all. Your actions were courageous and selfless. Thank you for your service, we will never forget. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.

    – Maria Greco
  12. My son and I walked and climbed to honor your sacrifice at our local 2021 Walk of Remembrance. Your sacrifice is not forgotten. A fellow First Responder.

    – Blake
  13. Thinking of you and your family today. Sending love and prayers. God bless you and yours.

    – Domenica Roberto
  14. Thank you for all your contributions to the Fire Service and for your ultimate sacrifice. On April 28th, 2023 after climbing 110 flights of stairs to honor you and the other brave fallen firefighters, I proudly stated your name and rang the bell as a reminder to myself; your wife, Rosalie; and the rest of your family, to never forget.

    – Alisa Schuster