Ray Downey

WCBS 880

Long Island Family Honors FDNY Legend Killed On 9/11 With Annual 5K Run

June 15, 2019 - 11:51 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – The first Father’s Day after 9/11 left a void in the lives of thousands of families, so a family on Long Island started a tradition to create some good from their personal loss.

Ray Downey was a firefighting legend. He was the FDNY’s chief of special operations and the national leader on search and rescue.

“So after he had died on 9/11, the family didn't know what to do on Father's Day. So we figured we'd start an event in his name and his honor, raise money and then give it back to the community,” Joe Downey said.

Downey is an FDNY battalion chief and Ray Downey’s son.

Every year his family holds the "Forever Running" Memorial 5K Run/Walk. They’ve raised more than $1 million for local scholarships and charities like fire foundations.

“We lost our dad and grandfather, husband, but to do something good in his name and make a lot of people happy and give back is the important thing,” Downey said.

Downey says his dad loved to run and this event is a fitting tribute.

“My dad was a marathon runner. He loved to run every day. He was doing it until he was killed,” Downey said.

You can learn more about Chief Downey here.