After high school, Welles attended Boston College on a lacrosse scholarship. True to his roots, he always wore his signature red bandana underneath his helmet. His teammates described Welles as a great friend and hard-working teammate.
After graduation, Welles took a job as an equities trader at a prominent investment bank in New York City. In 2001, Welles called his father and said he was having doubts about his career choice. He knew that if he continued to work in front of a computer screen he would go crazy.
On September 11, 2001, Welles was working on the 104th floor of the south tower at the World Trade Center. He was right in the thick of the explosion when the 2nd plane crashed into the skyscraper. Welles immediately transitioned into his role as a volunteer firefighter and began searching for a way out. He found the only working staircase and began leading injured people to safety. Once he got them to safety on a lower floor, he climbed back up the stairs, into the blaze to continue the rescue effort. Crowther ended up going back three times in an attempt to save as many people as he could. As he climbed back up the third time, the tower collapsed.
His parents waited weeks for a sign of Welles, and finally they got one. A woman who had survived the attacks spoke about the man who saved her life in a news release. She described him as her guardian angel – the man with the red bandana.
Welles did not lose his life; he gave it up so that others could live. He is credited with directly saving 12 civilians that day, all of which are forever grateful that Welles Crowther was at work that fateful morning.