Even in death, Bronx Firefighter John Hannon followed his calling. Killed in an auto accident while driving home from his South Bronx firehouse in January, the 30-year-old firefighter helped save four lives through organ do nations. There weren’t many dry eyes yesterday as Hannon, of Ladder 17, was honored at his Mott Haven firehouse. Several speakers, including Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen, found themselves choking back tears, as they spoke of Hannon’s dedication, determination and final sacrifice. “John loved life. He loved life, and he wanted to share,” said Ladder 17 Firefighter Tom Day. Besides being a marathoner and Irish rugby player, Hannon was a member of the Fire Department’s disaster assistance response team that assisted in Florida after Hurricane Andrew, the Los Angeles earthquake and at numerous floods in the Midwest. He was also a determined boxing enthusiast who lost his last fight to a cop in an interdepartmental match. “We all know he won that last fight,” the fire commissioner told an audience of Hannon’s family, firefighters and officials from organ donor organizations. “His last battle was a tremendous victory,” Von Essen said of Hannon’s life-giving organ donations. Denise Payne, executive director of the New York Organ Donor Network, had tears in her eyes and her voice quivered as she read a letter to Hannon’s family from a man identified only as Mike, who received the firefighter’s heart. It read: “Your family’s decision to donate became the miracle of life for me. Without your decision, I would never have seen my daughter dance or cheer or see my son play football or baseball again. You have given me the greatest gift of all Life! And for that, I thank you.
” After the speeches, Hannon’s mother, Margaret, unveiled a plaque from the Donor Network that will hang in the firehouse. Hannon’s brother Daniel said that when doctors told them there was no hope and discussed donating his organs, the family sat down over tea and, with some tears and prayers, knew that he would not have wanted his death to be in vain. “We were well aware of the kind of person John was and what he would want done.
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