Local Volunteer Recounts September 11th Experience

By: Tina Stein
By: Tina Stein

No matter what year it is, John Lawrence says September 11th will always bring back all sorts of feelings and memories.

"I still remember those images very clearly."

Just a few months after the Twin Towers fell, Lawrence flew out to Staten Island to serve as a site supervisor for the Salvation Army. Staten Island is where crews sorted through the debris that was shipped by barge from Ground Zero. This debris included plane wreckage and body remains, which left Lawrence with some shocking last impressions.

"The only way they were able to identify one of the victims was his hip replacement, his stainless steel hip replacement," he says.

Reports show many of those working on Ground Zero immediately after the attacks are now having problems breathing. So just to be safe, Lawrence is taking part in a study to make sure he doesn't develop those problems as well.

"I have no problems myself and the people that were there later that got the proper breathing equipment protection and followed the rules. I don't think we'll have any problems."

Lawrence keeps in touch with fellow aftermath workers. Every September 11th, emails are exchanged, reminding them how lucky they are to be on this side of the attacks.

Every six months, Lawrence fills out a questionnaire on his mental and physical health. He also receives statistics on those who've developed respiratory problems such as asthma. So far, Lawrence says no one he worked with on Staten Island claims to have gotten sick.

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