The Ray Downey Courage and Valor Award, presented by the Fire Engineering Courage and Valor Foundation, commemorates the life and career achievements of Deputy Chief Ray Downey, chief of rescue operations and 39-year veteran of the Fire Department of New York, who was killed while commanding rescue operations at the World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001. He was the most highly decorated firefighter in the history of FDNY.
In addition to his great courage as a firefighter, Chief Downey was nationally known for his pioneering efforts in the field of technical rescue and was the unofficial leader of the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Teams he trained for disaster response throughout the United States and the world. Chief Downey commanded rescue operations at many difficult and complex disasters, including the Oklahoma City Bombing, the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing, and many natural disasters worldwide.
Through his teaching, articles, instructional videos, and his book, The Rescue Company, Chief Downey made a profound and lasting impact on thousands of firefighters throughout the United States. He was a beloved member of the Fire Engineering and Fire Department Instructors Conference advisory boards. Chief Downey reached a level, both professionally and as a person, that few achieve.
For his lifetime of unparalleled service to firefighters and citizens alike, and in remembrance of the courage and valor exemplified many times throughout his life, it is fitting that the Courage and Valor Award, presented to one extraordinarily courageous American firefighter each year, bears the name of Ray Downey, a truly extraordinary man.
The first award will be presented at the Fire Department Instructors Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, on April 13 at the Courage and Valor Foundation Dinner.
For more information, visit www.courageandvalor.org.