A Jersey City firefighter from Toms River who was called a hero for his efforts at Ground Zero on Sept. 11, 2001 died last Friday.
Capt. Mark Lee, 53, died at Community Medical Center, having succumbed to respiratory failure,his relatives told News12, in a report.
Lee, who helped remove rubble from the World Trade Center site after the terrorist attack in a search for survivors, had to leave active duty with the fire department by Christmas 2013, News12 reported, but organized one last Christmas toy drive before he did.
His family, the television station reported, believes that, like many first responders, their loved one fell ill due to toxins in the air after the attack.
"These guys went over there and did everything they could, and in the process it might have gotten them sick," Mark Lee, Jr., who is also now a firefighter in Jersey City, told the television station.
According to an obituary, Lee was born in Jersey City but had lived in Toms River for several years.
He received numerous awards as a firefighter and volunteer for organizations such as the Special Olympics Torch Run and Fireman's Picnic and was a Board Member of the FDJC Distress Fund. For the past 27 years, Mark led the FDJC Christmas Drive. He was named Irish Firefighter of the year in 2011.
Lee leaves behind his wife, Cheryl, and children, Jennifer Bimbo and her husband, Richie, Christina and Mark Jr., and a grandson, plus siblings.