Comedian, actor and producer Denis Leary portrayed conflicted firefighter Tommy Gavin on the FX Network series "Rescue Me" for seven seasons. The show, which recently ended, examined the lives of New York City firefighters as they struggled to cope with the ever-present shadow of 9/11.
Leary knows something personally about loss and coping in the firefighter community. His cousin Jerry Lucey died in 1991 with five other firefighters in a warehouse blaze in Worcester, Massachusetts. Leary responded by creating the Leary Firefighters Foundation.
Through his work with the Leary Firefighters Foundation, he has raised more than $10 million for new fire trucks, training facilities, and equipment for firefighters across the country.
But Leary says firefighters still lack the most basic improvement of all: "Pay raises."
Leary says, “It would be great if firefighters across the country had the guarantee that they would be making enough money to support their family right from the get-go, but that's not the case." Ten years after 9/11 and more than a decade after the deadly fire in Worcester, the actor says, "It's really a hole that never goes away."
Produced by Jennie Josephson; production by Ray Bribiesca, Josh Simmons, Matthew LaGreca and Michael Manas; Post production: Matt Weglian, James Kelly. Graphics by Howard Kim for Yahoo! Studios.
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- Denis Leary
- Leary Firefighters Foundation