Between his penchant for playing unpredictable roles and his unforgettably unique face, Steve Buscemi has long been a fan favorite. Whether he's stealing the laughs in a comedy or proving his acting chops in a drama, Buscemi has become one of those actors that can singlehandedly bring me to the theater with his mere casting.
But what's even more impressive than the actor's ability to create memorable characters are his heroic actions in real-life. You see, before Buscemi became the actor we know and love today, he was an FDNY firefighter in Manhattan's Little Italy, one of the busiest zones around. From 1980 to 1984, he served and protected the people of his community, but it's what he did after September 11th attacks that makes his story so inspiring
On September 12th, 2001, Steve Buscemi returned to the fire service to help search for survivors
In a detailed Facebook post, Brotherhood of Fire reveals how Buscemi immediately came back to FDNY Engine 55 following the devastating terrorist attacks. He stayed for several days, lending a hand to his brothers in aide. Much later, he told the public that it was heartening to work alongside those committed to doing good:
It was a privilege to be able to do it. It was great to connect with the firehouse I used to work with and with some of the guys I worked alongside. And it was enormously helpful for me because while I was working, I didn't really think about it as much, feel it as much.
The Hollywood life didn't dull his work ethic, either. He worked 12-hour shifts in grueling Ground Zero to sift through the heavy wreckage on the hunt for survivors. In a time when unparalleled chaos was rampant, Buscemi didn't hesitate in recognizing his responsibility and immediately lent a hand.
He wasn't looking for publicity
Brotherhood of Fire is quick to make the important point that, unlike how most famous actors would treat this circumstance, Buscemi actively avoided any PR efforts or big media coverage. In fact, he rejected all interviews that were offered to him because he didn't want to divert attention away from the national tragedy and those who were trying to rectify it.
It's even difficult to find pictures of his time there, which just goes to show that he wasn't doing this for any selfish reasons. He just genuinely wanted to help.
His support for firefighters didn't stop there
Buscemi returned to New York in 2003 to give a passionate speech at a union rally pushing for an increase in firefighters' wages and an abatement on fire house closings. He was arrested along with other firefighters for speaking out about this fair treatment.
Later, in 2012, Buscemi traveled back to New York to help clean up the destruction left by Super Storm Sandy. Once again, he was sure to keep his appearance under the radar and turn the focus where it belonged: To the victims who endured the hardship.
Steve Buscemi's story just goes to show that even under the gloss of the movie industry, the best people never lose their sense of humanity. In a world of constant self-promotion and media scams, it's downright inspiring to see someone who's just concerned with doing the right thing.