I was even more fortunate to have run into him again and to have worked with him in Ladder 44, when he came over as a Lieutenant. I worked with him in Ladder 44 from around 1995, when he came to that firehouse until around 2005, when we both left, he to Marine-1 and I to Hazmat-1.
Mike retired recently, not long after pulling a suicidal woman out of the Hudson River last September.
This past Wednesday (April 22, 2009) Mike Finer, (58 y/o) was driving along the span of the George Washington Bridge en route to Kevin Flannagan's awards banquet, when he saw a man climb onto the outer railing of the bridge, he told the NY Daily News.
"He was over the railing, holding on with one arm, it was precarious. He was ready to go," Mike Finer told the New York Daily News.
According to the Daily News account, “Finer pulled over and ran toward the man, dodging rush-hour traffic on the busy bridge.
"I just said, 'Let me see what I can do to help,'" recalled Finer, who spent 30 years with the FDNY after working for the NYPD for five before that...
"...No one wants to see you do this," Finer recalled telling the man, who gave his name as Lloyd.
“Ignoring a Port Authority police officer who warned him to back off, Finer told Lloyd that the fall might not kill him - a notion that gave the suicidal man pause.
“Eventually, Finer coaxed Lloyd into climbing back up to safety.”
You can read the full story here; http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2009/04/24/2009-04-24_hero_michael_finer_rescues_stops_suicide_jump_george_washington_bridge.html
I’ve been lucky to meet a LOT of really great guys over the years in the FDNY and Mike Finer is one of my all-time favorite people. Not only was he an excellent fireman and fire officer, he was a GREAT teacher, always sharing his broad range of knowledge with others. And Mike fought for his principles as well.
Recently, when the City paid all HazMat specialty Units 12% more for the added education and responsibilities, while conspicuously eliminating the Marine Units from that group, Mike fought the City and the FDNY in arbitration and the courts for the Marine Units and he did this, while seeking a spot as an officer in a Squad or Rescue Unit, before his career-ending injury. Mike’s fight was and IS for fairness, as the Marine Units are HazMat trained and they obviously take on those responsibilities. Both the City of New York and the FDNY have acknowledged that “EVERY shipboard incident is a HazMat incident.”
Mike Finer’s ALWAYS been one of the BEST, so it’s not surprising that he’d rise to the occasion even when officially “retired” and on his way to an important event. I can personally attest that anyone whose life has been touched by Mike Finer has been a LOT better off for that.
When New Yorkers count their blessing, they should count people like Mike Finer among them – they’re few and far between.