She is now the new case manager supervisor for the Long-Term Recovery Organization, aiding in tornado victim’s recovery and rebuilding efforts. One of her former jobs was with the local Red Cross, where she worked in 2001.
Here is her reflection of 9/11, in her own words.
When I think back to Sept. 11, 2001, I remember the day starting as a typical day.
I took my son, Byron, who was 2 years old, to daycare, and then went to my office where I was serving as the executive director of the Hiwassee Chapter of the American Red Cross.
I had not been at the office long that morning, and my mother called. She told me to turn on the television, that a plane had struck the World Trade Center in New York City.
I walked out to the large room outside of my office where there was a television. I turned it on and called to the staff.
We just stood there and watched, motionless, in complete silence.
We did not do much at the office that day, other than stare at the television and answer hundreds of phone calls. Volunteers, board members, emergency services personnel, all found their way to the Red Cross Chapter. Everyone seemed to have a shocked, unbelieving expression on their faces.
What was happening, here of all places — in the United States of America? A terror attack on our own soil — how? Why?
It still seems so unbelievable. This is America.
The days and weeks that followed were filled with children, families, churches and schools bringing us donations. Many donations were in the form of coins and smaller denominations of bills. Julia Wright and I took great efforts to not only count, but account, for every penny.
Also there were so many individuals wanting to help by volunteering, both experienced and inexperienced volunteers offering to go to New York or Washington, D.C. We had nine community members who went to help through the Red Cross in varying capacities.
Each went for a minimum 21-day assignment, most to New York City. Some of our volunteers went back for multiple assignments. Although nine went from the chapter to help, many more began volunteering locally, donating funds and in my opinion, most importantly, began praying for our country.
I remember the first prayer service that our community held as the beginning of a time in our community when we really focused on expressing our appreciation and began praying as a whole for our emergency services personnel, volunteers for disaster relief agencies, and other leaders and members of our community that worked in this capacity. This led to prayers for our community leaders, teachers and countless others who make a difference every day in each of our lives.
As horrific as the events of Sept. 11, 2001, are in my mind, as I reflect I see a stronger community and I am appreciative that I live in this wonderful, caring, giving, community.
We are truly blessed.