On Sept. 11th at 9 am, Tom Wojcik was supposed to end a 24-hour shift. By 9:15 he was headed to Tower 1 with the other firemen from his firehouse. They stopped a city bus, got everyone off, loaded up all their gear, and picked up four more fire companies. Tower 2 fell, and around 11:00, they were dispatched there so all the units wouldn’t be in one spot. When Tom arrived, one of the first things he saw was Emergency Services NYPD Truck 2. This was the truck his cousin, John D’Allara used as a member of an elite unit of the PD that responds to large emergencies. John gave his life during the collapse of the first tower and left behind his own family. Never forgotten.
Tom did not go home until Sept. 12th around 11:45 pm. His wife, Debbie, had last spoken with him at 7:45 am, before the first plane even hit. Debbie says, “Then whoever was left from the FD and the PD went to 12 hour shifts, 12 on and 12 off.” That was the schedule for nine months. When we call him a hero, he says, “It was just my job. The heroes are the ones that died.” He’s a lot bigger than me, so I don’t argue…..but I still tell my kids he IS a hero.
Tom and Debbie lost about 15 dear friends that day from the FD and the PD. Michael Cawley, Lt. Robert Wallace, Battalion Chief Orio Palmer, Capt. Thomas Moody, Lt. Ronald Kerwin and Thomas Casoria to name a handful. They lost another 40 friends who were on call that day.
If you can’t get to the 9/11 Memorial Plaza, you might like to read about these heroes at – http://www.legacy.com . I read about every man our cousins mentioned and didn’t regret it. I laughed at some of the memories people shared about them and was inspired by stories of their consistent bravery. My gratitude for LIFE and LOVE increased. For STRENGTH and COURAGE. For HEROES.
“David Haskell’s Tower Memories is dedicated to the innocent, the brave and the unaccounted for who perished on Sept. 11, 2001.” This memorial is located at the Frank Hotchkin Center in Los Angeles. I didn’t really mean to smile….it was sort of automatic. Although, I do think it is meaningful that all the way over here in LA, we have the names of each individual who lost their life. I saw this memorial as soon as I walked in to pick up my race packet the day before the race.
Today I did participate in Run to Remember Los Angeles. I completed the 10k in 58:17. I thought of Tom and his friends during the race. I ran for many, to honor the loss and to cherish life.