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Dorothy Marks: A Woman on Fire

An occasional story about our donors

Dorothy Marks is truly a woman on fire.

Back in 1974, when she was a volunteer at Mount Sinai Hospital, she met the administrator of the emergency room, who was a fire buff.  "As he was driving me home one night after work, we came upon a tenement building, fully ablaze, a third alarm fire. I was fascinated watching the firefighters. The bravery of these men, running into burning buildings to rescue total strangers, just blew my mind. They are huge heroes, every one of them."

As she stood there, she heard her name called. It was an old friend, another fire buff, whose husband was the president of the Third Alarm Association, a support unit run by the FDNY and the Red Cross that sets up canteens for firefighters on the job and helps relocate victims. "They decided then and there they were going to make me a fire buff," recalls Dorothy. "They got me a radio, told me what to listen for, and the codes. I would go with them to the major fires, watch the firefighting operations, and sometimes help serve the coffee and donuts."

Dorothy became an EMT in 1976 and was one of the founding members of the Central Park Medical Unit, a volunteer ambulance still active today. She was the first female member of the Fire Bell Club, a group of fire buffs that supports various projects in the FDNY. She is on the boards of the Fire Museum, and the Central Park Medical Unit, the Regional Emergency Medical Services Council, and the Honor Emergency Fund of the FDNY. She also donates cash to be given with two medals of valor every year on FDNY Medal Day.

As generous as she is with her time and money to the FDNY, Dorothy supports "the usual causes"—cancer care and research, AIDS patients, heart disease, the hungry and the homeless, and many more. A particular passion is animal rights: "Some day, I’d like to see all the puppymills shut down, as well as all the pet stores that keep that cruel industry going." She is the proud mother of a Maltese named Bonbon.

"The largest position in my portfolio is a stock that sells for more per share than I might want to give to any one organization at one time, so in order to be able to split it up and support more causes, my lawyer suggested that I set up a fund at The Trust.  I thought this was a great idea, and I have been very happy with it.  And I really like the convenience of being able to give a list to The Trust and let THEM write all those checks!"

Dorothy sums it up: "I admire people who do extraordinary things, people who leave the comfort of their own lives and go out there and do important things."

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