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 where he worked 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. Crowthers was one of the heroes on that day as he found the only working stairwell from the 78th floor. Crowthers led a group of at least 10 people down the stairwell 17 floors to firefighters while 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 said was one of the lives 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 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. That bandana he received from his father when he was six years old and he carried it everywhere he went.
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, as well.
In addition, ESPN, ACC Network, and 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. Most recently, one of the PLL season awards is named the Welles Crowther Humanitarian Award.