A 52-year-old contractor from Citrus County was one of two people killed last weekend in Afghanistan.
According to Bay News 9's partner newspaper the Citrus County Chronicle, Kevin O'Rourke, who lived in the town of Hernando, was in Afghanistan as a civilian contractor with NATO, working for Engility, a law enforcement professional firm based in Alexandria, Va.
A former New York City police officer, O'Rourke missed being in the World Trade Center by 20 minutes on September 11, 2001. He spent hours that day helping a friend trapped in the rubble.
Friends say after 9/11, O'Rourke saw "a great need to go to (Iraq and) Afghanistan and to help the younger generation understand what we went through in New York."
John Moran, who worked with O'Rourke on the NYPD for years, said O’Rourke felt it was his duty to help out in the Middle East and said he was working hard to save college money for his two kids.
“He always wanted to make a better life for his kids,” Moran said. “His kids were the focus of his life.”
Moran was devastated when he heard the news of his friend’s passing.
“I got the phone call and felt like I got hit by a truck,” said “It really was devastating and I was hoping somebody made a mistake.”
John Brex, another good friend, talked to O’Rourke a few days before he was killed. He said O’Rourke was looking forward to coming home.
“I had not heard him this tired before,” Brex said. “He said it was just almost non-stop.”
Friends say O’Rourke spent most of his time helping others. He went to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and to Haiti after the earthquake to help anyway he could.
Funeral arrangements have not been announced yet.