Remembering Welles Crowther, Lacrosse’s Greatest Hero

*Note: This article was originally posted on September 11th, 2019 and is being reposted in honor of the anniversary of 9/11.*

Welles Crowther, other wise known as “The Man in the Red Bandana,” was a native of Nyack, NY and played at DI lacrosse at Boston College. He was also a volunteer firefighter in his hometown. After graduating from Boston College he went to work in New York City as an equities trader. His office was on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center’s South Tower.

On September 11th, 2001, Welles was in the South Tower when United Airlines Flight 175 struck the building. Crowther was one of the heroes on that day as he found the only working stairwell from the 78th floor and led a group of at least 10 people 17 floors down that stairwell to firefighters. He did so while also carrying a young woman on his back. After he escorted them to safety he went back up to help the others in need.

Crowthers returned to the 78th floor to find another group of survivors in need of assistance. According to Judy Wein, who worked on the 108th floor and was one of the many whom Crowther saved, he was putting out fires and administering first aid to anyone who needed it. Wein recalls Crowther saying to the group, “Everyone who can stand, stand now. If you can help others, do so.”

Crowther helped that group down the stairwell to safety, as well. He was last seen going back up the stairs with members of the New York Fire Department to go try and save more people. He did all of that while wearing a red bandana around his face to block out the smoke. That bandana he received from his father when he was six years old and had carried everywhere he went since. 

His heroic actions saved many lives and we can all learn lessons from his selfless actions. Boston College continues to remember Welles in numerous was. Their football team has worn Red Bandana uniforms multiple times and they now have a game each year that is designated as the “Red Bandana Game.” Boston College also sponsors a 5K in Welles’ honor.

In addition, ESPN, ACC Networkand many other news outlets have done features on Welles and in 2017 there was a movie that came out on his life and heroic actions. The PLL also has a season award named after the former lacrosse player and hero, the Welles Crowther Humanitarian Award. 

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