Meet Chief Richard Picciotto, our keynote speaker on April 25

Fire Chief Richard Picciotto will serve as the keynote speaker during the DFW Hospital Council (DFWHC) Foundation’s 23rd Annual Employee of the Year Luncheon on April 25 at the Hurst Conference Center.

The highest-ranking firefighter to survive the World Trade Center terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Chief Picciotto was on a stairwell between the sixth and seventh floors of the North Tower when it collapsed. A New York Fire Department battalion commander, his is the harrowing true story of a man who thought nothing of himself and gave nearly everything for others during one of our nation’s darkest hours. Picciotto tells his account of that indelible day, shaking and inspiring audiences.

“Chief Picciotto’s story is one of leadership during an unimaginable event,” said Kristin Jenkins, president of the DFWHC Foundation. “We thought he would be the perfect speaker for hospital employees of North Texas. We are looking forward to his inspirational presentation on April 25.”

On the morning of September 11, Picciotto answered the call and within minutes was at Ground Zero of the worst terrorist attack in American history. Already a veteran of terrorist attacks, Picciotto was present fighting a similar battle after the World Trade Center Bombing in 1993. Inside the North Tower again where he found himself years earlier, he focused his concentration on the rescue efforts at hand.

Within the smoky stairwells of the North Tower assisting others, he heard the South Tower collapse. He then made the call for firemen and rescue workers to evacuate, while he stayed behind with a skeleton team to assist a group of disabled and infirm civilians. It was there, in the rubble of the North Tower, that Picciotto found himself buried for more than four hours after the building’s collapse.

Having discovered that members of his team and a 59-year-old grandmother were also alive nearby, he and his men used their radios to send out Mayday calls until they made contact with firefighters on the ground. When the light finally appeared from above, he climbed upwards with others to reach safety.

Picciotto’s book “Last Man Down” is a tribute to the 343 firefighters and 2,400 civilians who lost their lives that day. The book is a heartfelt remembrance of a day of infamy and profound humanity. An immediate New York Times bestseller upon release, the book has been translated into approximately 15 different languages.

Chief Picciotto is also a former New York City police officer, and has served as a fire marshal, arson investigator, lieutenant and captain prior to becoming chief. He is a 30-year veteran of the fire department. He is also the recipient of numerous departmental awards and commendations for his bravery and meritorious service.

Nominee forms and sponsor packets are now available to the Employee of the Year Luncheon. They can be found here.

For information, please contact [email protected] or call 972-719-4900.