Began With a 'Perfect Visit' From His
By Samuel Bruchey
September 20, 2001
Less than an hour before New York
City firefighter Kenneth Marino was
called down to the World Trade Center,
his wife and two small children
surprised him with a visit to his
It was Tuesday morning, Sept. 11, and
the three were on their way to 24th
Street, where Marino's daughter,
Kristin, who sometimes models, had a
But Kristin, 4, had cried about the
shoot the night before, so Marino's
wife, Katrina, thought seeing Daddy
might cheer her up. Besides, she said,
their son, Tyler, 1, just loves the big
The men of Rescue One, on West 43rd
Street, were asleep upstairs, but
Marino, 40, was working desk duty, so he
lifted the kids into a truck and placed
them at the wheel.
He sat Kristin on his lap and
whispered into her ear.
"He must have been telling her
that if she took a pretty picture he
would give her a prize," Katrina
said. Maybe bubble gum stashed behind
the clock back home in upstate Monroe.
That was their special game. Daddy's
Her husband looked so handsome in his
shorts, she thought. Six-foot-five with
those long, muscular legs. He'd run
cross-country track at Oceanside High
School, fast enough to make the school's
hall of fame. He played on baseball
teams, too. Those legs were every bit as
"Bye, sexy guy," Katrina
called out as they left, and watched him
walk bashfully back inside.
"It was just the perfect
visit," Katrina recalled yesterday.
On their way downtown, Katrina, a
former flight attendant, heard the loud
engine of an airplane overhead, and
thought it must be flying low.
Through a window of her daughter's
modeling agency, Katrina watched the
first plane crash into the World Trade
Center. Then came the sirens.
"Daddy's probably there,"
she recalled thinking. "I had
chills about it, but you don't think any
further than him going to save people
and help out. You would never think the
Nine men responded from Rescue One
after two hijacked planes slammed into
the World Trade Towers, including four
who were off duty at the time. Two of
their bodies were later recovered from
the stairwell of Tower One. But seven,
including Marino, are still missing.
Pat Marino and his wife, Mary Ann,
who live-with Marino's sister, Lynda-in
Oceanside, figure their son was probably
racing up the stairs.
"If I know Kenny, he was right
in the middle of it," his father
Kristin knows the towers collapsed
when her Daddy was still inside, Katrina
said. At night she focuses on it more,
when the two sit down to color with
crayons. On Tuesday night, she wrote her
Daddy a letter.
It said: 'I love you so much. Please
come home and where's my prize."
"That's when I realized what he
had whispered," Katrina said
yesterday. "I know he hadn't gotten
it yet, because he always gets it on the