National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

Roll of Honor

Age: 31
Year of Death: 2001

William R. Johnston

William ‘Billy’ Johnston‚ age 31‚ was fulfilling a life long dream as a New York City firefighter on the tragic day of September 11‚ 2001. Billy graduated from the fire academy as the first class in the year 2000. Shortly after‚ he became a member of Engine Company 276‚ Ladder 156 in Brooklyn and was on a one-year rotation to Engine Company 6 in downtown Manhattan. Billy was one of four from his company who died in the World Trade Center attacks.

Billy grew up in North Babylon and is survived by his parents‚ William and Joy‚ his brother Robert‚ sisters Diane and Christine‚ brother-in-law Harry‚ and his new nephew John William.

Billy graduated from North Babylon High School in 1987 where he was an astounding athlete. He loved sports and was a die-hard Jet‚ Yankee and Ranger fan. He played many sports but his ultimate love was soccer. Billy played in the Empire State Games for the past two years and his team took home the bronze and the gold.

As soon as Billy became a member of the FDNY he joined the football‚ softball‚ and basketball teams. He was the kicker for the Bravest Football Club and was a left fielder on the 2001 FDNY city championship softball team. In fact‚ Billy spent his last weekend doing what he loved-playing ball with his FDNY brothers in a softball tournament in Maryland. His fellow firefighters at the tournament will always remember him as the guy with the Gilligan hat.

Billy was not only known for his athleticism‚ he was very loyal to family and friends. He has maintained life long friendships with his buddies from elementary school. He traveled and spent a lot of time with his friends‚ especially his best friend John Kolich who is a New York City Police officer. John recalls having a conversation with Billy just prior to September 11th where the two were comparing the danger in their jobs. John believed that firemen encounter more danger and asked Billy‚ ‘How do you do it?’ ‘How do you go into a burning building‚ with a raging fire and thick smoke?’

Billy was loyal to his job as a New York City fireman by saving others. He died doing what he loved and he will be deeply missed.

Memorial Posts


Memorial Wall

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  1. Hi, in August 18,29,21,2016 I will be riding with America’s 911 Ride, to the three crash sites, this year will be 6th year riding to remember and never forget. I will ride to Honor Our Hero, Billy, We will Never Forget . God Bless.

    – Ajshe( I-She) Arifi
  2. Today I participated in the 9/11 Memorial stair climb in Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI. I had the honor of finishing the 110 stories of the climb with Billy’s picture badge in my hand. Never forgotten. God Bless.

    – Michelle
  3. At fdic 2017 I had the honor to climb in the 911 memorial stair climb with William Johnston on my helmet and climbed all 110 floors. Thanks for all you did, I’ll never forget!

    – Jeff Williams
  4. I participated in Florence Al Fire Rescues 9/11 stair climb and had the honor of carrying Firefighter Johnston’s badge all 110 floors. Rest In Peace brother!

    – Jay R. McGough
  5. Colorado 2017 9-11 stairclimb today.. I was given your name and walked in your memory.. god bless and never forgotten .

    – Andrea Baumert
  6. Kalamazoo Mi 2018 9-11 stairclimber today. I walked in your memory. RIP. Never forgotten

    – Jessica
  7. For the last two years, we have co-hosted a Tower Challenge at Arizona Coyotes Arena with our 110 Club of AZ and Airmen from Luke AFB. Last year we had 300 participants, this year we had 500. Each year we hang up all the pictures of the fallen first responders who passed away in the towers that day. For the last two years, I have placed William Johnston’s picture…so I felt I owed it to him and the event to “know more about Billy”…and now I do. At next years event, I promised the 500 participants I would share to story of William Johnston. Thanks for having this website and posting the information.

    Ron Sites
    President / Executive Director
    Fighter Country Foundation

    Ron Sites
  8. Dear Family of William R.Johnston, It was a honor to remember William in the Run For The Fallen in Kronenwetter Wi. on Sept. 8, 2018. I will hold his memory in my heart. Thank you for you’re ultimate sacrifice. God bless you and your family.


    – bonnie mittlesteadt
  9. I will be participating in the 2018 Step Up for Heroes event in Sioux Falls, SD this weekend. I’ll climb 110 flights of stairs and the name of the Hero I was given was William Johnston. May God Bless him, his family (including his family whom joined him that day). Rest In Peace.

    – Al Benjamin
  10. I Participated in the 2018 lambeau stair climb. I finished the 110 flight stair climb in honor of Billy. never forgotten.

    – Christina Euhardy
  11. I had the honor of participating in the 911 Memorial Stair Climb at Lambeau Field on September 22nd, carrying the badge of William R. Johnston. It is something I will never forget, and will continue to do as long as they carry on this tradition. I will never forget the sacrifice Mr. Johnston and all of the firefighters made that day for us. Love and peace to your family.

    – Trina VanDenElzen
  12. This morning I ran the Tunnel to Towers 5K in Lake Zurich, IL in honor of Firefighter Johnston. You will never be forgotten. Thank you for your service and ultimate sacrifice.

    – Heidi Davis
  13. September 12, 2020- I climbed in Johnston’s memory 110 flights at the Panama City Beach Stair Climb in Florida. I will not forget him and I won’t let my children forget either.

    – Nikki Striplin
  14. As a firefighter friend of FDNY Engine #6, Firefighter Billy Green, I am dedicating my solemn prayers to Billy and his wife Maureen. It was such a Ppeasure to be his guest at Engine #6, and to have him and his wife, and Engine #6 firefighters as our guests in the Capital District. “I WILL NEVER FORGET, And I WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER BILLY GREEN”!!! My prayers continue for the 343 firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice!!!

    – Paul O'Keefe
  15. I had the privilege of wearing the honor badge today of William “Billy” R. Johnston in today’s Memorial Stair Climb. I was moved reading his story and I thank you for his
    service and heroism that day! May he never be forgotten! God bless! Sending comfort and love to your family!

    – Sam Essid
  16. Today was the first time I’ve participated in a stair climb. Billy’s badge was the one I picked. It was an honor to walk for all of my fallen brothers & sisters, but even more special to have a specific name and face to walk in memory of. I will never forget.

    – Steve Owens
  17. 9/11/2021 We walked in your honor at the 110 stair climb in Greenville, SC. Never Forget!

    – Stacy
  18. On Sunday 9/11/2022 I will be participating in the 911 tower challenge and I will carrying Williams picture with me. I am honored and humbled to play a small part in ensuring William’s sacrifice will never be forgotten.

    – Steve Celis
  19. Ran a 5K this weekend to benefit the Tunnel to Towers Foundation. We all wore a badge of one of the 343 lost that day and mine was that of fire fighter William Johnston. 😊

    – Katt