From Police Heroes, a book by author Chuck Whitlock:
Joseph Navas, forty-four, enjoyed his high-risk, four-days on, two-days off job with the Port Authority. A twenty-year veteran officer, he had been with the Port Authority’s ESU for seven years. He trained for specialized jobs in rescue diving, confined space rappelling, and chemical and biological counterterrorism. He worked out of the Journal Square PATH Station in New Jersey.
Port Authority Officer Eric Bulger said he watched Navas lead other ESU officers into the North Tower: “It was like the Marines coming to the rescue,” he told Newsday. Navas’s last transmission was from the basement.
Karen, his wife of fifteen years, said he was a true family man. He enjoyed playing with his three children, Jessica, Joseph and Justin. He coached Joseph’s Little League team as well as an ice hockey team. When he was off during the week, he drove the kids to school and sometimes had lunch with them.
Navas, the son of a retired maintenance supervisor for the Port Authority, seldom talked about his job. It was through the newspaper that his family learned about his involvement in a May 1999 incident in which he was part of an operation to prevent a man from jumping off a George Washington Bridge support tower. Navas dangled out of a door and was able to grab the man after he leaped onto another rescuer standing on a ledge below. At the time, Navas said, “You want to save people, but you also want to get home to your family.”
Portraits of Grief, The New York Times
Making the Hours Count
Given that the days Joseph Navas worked fluctuated-his schedule was four days on, two days off-and given that his overriding interest was doing things with his wife and three children, he had to improvise. That was O.K. He knew how to make hours count.
If he was off on weekend days, it was easy. He might play ball with Joey or help coach his Little League team or his ice hockey team. He would take Jessica shopping or watch her perform with her cheerleader squad. He might ride bikes with Justin. When he was off on weekdays, school preoccupied the children, but he would make the most of the hours he had with them. He would drive them to school, or pick them up for lunch, or even bring them lunch.
Mr. Navas, 44, was a Port Authority police officer, part of the emergency services unit, assigned to PATH. He worked out of Journal Square but was summoned to the World Trade enter after the attack. He was broadly trained. He had been to chemical identification school; he had learned how to deal with hazardous materials; he knew how to rappel; he was schooled in scuba diving.
“He wanted his family to be safe,” said his wife, Karen. “He wanted everybody to be safe. That was why he was a police officer.”