Durrell Pearsall, 34, was called “Bronko.” At 6’2” and 285 pounds, he could bench press 455 “easily.” He dreamed of becoming a fireman from an early age. Following in his father’s footsteps, he began his career as a volunteer with the Hempstead Fire Department on Long Island. He received numerous commendations and two Medals of Valor. He was also a fire educator for Nassau County.
Durrell joined the FDNY in 1993 and was a member of Squad 1 before joining Rescue 4. He was studying for the FDNY Lieutenant exam. Bronko was co-captain of “The Bravest Football Club” and a devoted fan of Notre Dame football. Proud of his Irish heritage, he played the snare drum in the FDNY’s Emerald Society Pipe and Drums. All surviving members of the band gathered outside his funeral at St. Patrick’s to “pipe him to Heaven.”
“Bronko” was finishing his overnight shift the morning of September 11th when the call came in. Without hesitation he volunteered to respond anyway. His family crest, pierced through with the words “Death before Shame” in Gaelic was tattooed on his right bicep.