Lt. Harvey Harrell, Res.5 STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — The first time Rachel Morio saw Harvey Harrell Jr. — the man she would eventually marry — he was on crutches with a firefighting injury. Two weeks later she saw him in an Emergency Medical Technician uniform, working at a triathlon in Great Kills Park. A firefighter, hazardous waste responder and rescue diver, the fire lieutenant dedicated his professional life to helping others in crisis. In his 22 years with the Fire Department, he participated in countless emergency and search and rescue operations. He was among those who responded to the World Trade Center bombing in 1993. And in 1996, when TWA Flight 800 exploded and crashed off Long Island shortly after takeoff from John F. Kennedy Airport, he was called away from vacation to work as a rescue diver. “He was gone for days,” said his wife, who said she worried for his safety. “They had no phones on the water.” Now, Mr. Harrell is among those missing since the attack on the World Trade Center. Compounding the hardship for his family, his brother, Lt. Stephen Harrell, a firefighter on temporary assignment at Ladder Co. 10, Manhattan, is also among the missing. Born in Midland Beach, Mr. Harrell lived in several Staten Island neighborhoods before settling in New Dorp with his wife in 1985. The New Dorp High School graduate attended the former Staten Island Community College, Sunnyside, for two years before being accepted to the Fire Academy and graduating in 1979. He was first assigned to Engine Co. 253 in Brooklyn in 1979, and worked in Ladder Co. 109 and Ladder Co. 157, also in Brooklyn, before being transferred to Rescue Co. 1 in Manhattan, where he spent about six years. “He called it the premier rescue company in the whole world,” said Mrs. Harrell. In a letter he wrote in 1996, Mr. Harrell described the valuable experience he obtained while at Rescue 1. “I know the borough, I know the house and I know the rig,” he wrote. “But most importantly, I know the firefighters — who’s a doctor, rigger, who my divers are, who to call to tear a wall down. “Probably the most important thing,” he concluded, “is my High Rise Rescue experience.” In 1994, he was promoted to lieutenant and assigned to the 41st Battalion in Brooklyn. He was transferred to Special Operations Command, on Roosevelt Island, in 1995, and to Rescue Co. 5 on Clove Road in Concord in 1996. He is one of 11 members of Rescue 5 who failed to return from the disaster site. On Sept. 11, Mr. Harrell was supposed to be in a Fire Department training class in Rosebank. But his family believes he made his way to Rescue 5 and jumped on the truck before it left the firehouse. “How he found out [about the World Trade Center emergency] and got there I’ll never know,” said his wife. “I thought he was in school. I was hoping he was in school, anyway. But he wasn’t.” Capt. John Ferry, who worked with Mr. Harrell for more than five years at Rescue 5, described him as a dedicated firefighter who was always trying to improve the operation, investigating new tools or other equipment that might be useful to the men in the company. “He really lived and breathed the job,” said Mr. Ferry. “He was always researching a new tool. He was always trying to come up with a new solution.” Mr. Harrell was a member of the department’s Emerald Society and received a number of medals and citations during his 22 years on the job. He loved to ski and was a member of the Staten Island Ski Club. He also enjoyed gardening with his wife. The Harrells’ front yard was a recipient of the Beautiful Staten Island Award from the Lynne Robbins Steinman Foundation in 1995. “He was the best husband, friend and father anyone could have,” said his wife. “Our love will live inside my heart forever.” The couple would have celebrated their 18th wedding anniversary on Sept. 18. “My Daddy was the light in me, my inner peace. No one can ever take him away from me, he will always be in my heart. Brave doesn’t even begin to describe what he was,” said his 15-year-old daughter, Elyse. “He always put everyone else before himself. He was the best daddy anyone could have asked for. Now I ask one thing of him: To watch over me always.” “My brother Harvey, ‘Buddy’ as I called him, was certainly nicknamed correctly,” said his brother, David. “If you met him and needed help, he would certainly try to be your buddy and help you out. He was very kind and generous, both on and off the job. “He always helped people on his block shovel snow, fix a light, mow a lawn. He was more than a brother to me, he was one of my lifelong best friends . . . a day won’t pass for the rest of my life that I [won’t] think of my brother.” Mr. Harrell was a parishioner of St. Charles R.C. Church, Oakwood. “My brother, Harvey, was my hero long before he was a firefighter,” said his sister, Cyndie Casserly. “And he has always been ‘the wind beneath my wings.’ ” In addition to his wife, his daughter, his brother and his sister, surviving are his parents, Harvey Sr. and Miriam; another daughter, Marissa; another brother, William, and another sister, Barbara Lee Harrell. A memorial mass is planned for Oct. 12 at 3 p.m. in St. Charles Church. The Colonial Funeral Home, New Dorp, is handling the arrangements.