Ray Downey Courage and Valor Award

The Ray Downey Courage and Valor Award commemorates the life and career achievements of Deputy Chief Ray Downey, who lost his life while commanding rescue operations at the World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001. Deputy Chief Downey was chief of rescue operations and a 39-year veteran of the Fire Department of New York. He was the most highly decorated firefighter in the history of FDNY.



In addition to his great courage as a firefighter, Deputy 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, which he trained for disaster response throughout the United States and the world. Deputy 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, Deputy 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 magazine and Fire Department Instructors Conference advisory boards. Deputy Chief Downey reached a level, both professionally and as a person, that few achieve.


From left: Chief Gary Marrs of the Oklahoma City Fire Department, Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating, and Deputy Chief Ray Downey. The three men became acquainted after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.

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.
"Chief Downey was far     more than a helping hand. He was an inspiration of unrivaled expertise. He was also a man whose beaming smile lighted some very dark hours. I am honored to say he became my friend." Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating, speaking of Ray's efforts in the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing of the Murrah Federal Building. Quote taken from a story in the Sept. 13, 2001 Tulsa World.


On April 13, 2002, the widow and family of Deputy Chief Ray Downey accepted the first Courage and Valor medal and $50,000 cash award at FDIC in Indianapolis. The Foundation awarded $25,000 to the Downey family and in addition to PennWell's commitment of $100,000 to the Foundation, the company provided an additional $25,000 gift to the Downey family in recognition of the many contributions of Ray Downey to the Fire Engineering magazine and FDIC Conference.


In remembrance of Ray Downey and all fallen firefighters, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to honor these courageous heroes.



Or, mail your tax-deductible donation to:
Fire Engineering Courage and Valor Foundation
c/o Valley National Bank
4812 E 81st Street
Tulsa, OK 74137
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