Idaho Red Cross volunteers look back at 9/11

Idaho Red Cross volunteers look back at 9/11

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by Natalie Podgorski

KTVB.COM

Posted on September 7, 2011 at 12:55 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 7 at 6:39 PM

BOISE-- Almost ten years later, the impacts of the September 11th attacks are still felt throughout our country. 

After the terrorist attacks on 9/11, 76 Red Cross volunteers from Idaho went to New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania to help people recover.

Tempe McFarlane went to New York as a case manager.  She helped people get the assistance they needed and listened to the challenges people were facing. 

McFarlane met with hundreds of people but looking back one person stands out.  "This one lady that shared with me that she had lost all of her friends. She was a night worker, and when she shared that story with me I said 'how did you live through that? How did you not die?' She said 'because I work at night and this happened during the day,'  and she said 'everybody I knew there lost their lives,'" said McFarlane.

Jim Stumpf was at Ground Zero working as a liaison officer for the Red Cross.  He worked with the Fire Department of New York, New York Police Department and the Port Authority letting them know what assistance Red Cross could provide.

While he was working in New York Stumpf became close with some of the firefighters.  He shared a lot of conversations with them and watched as they struggled with their losses.  "Fire folks lost a lot of their own and their trauma and dealing with all of that.  Some of them had been to more funerals in a month than most people go to in a lifetime. That was pretty traumatic for them.  Just giving them a sounding board and talking to them." said Stumpf.

John Trojacek was only 19-years-old when the attacks happened.  In December, he went to New York.  One of his jobs was to call families who's last name started with an "s" that had had family members died on the 101st and 102nd floors of the Trade Towers. 

Each day Trojacek would get assigned a new pile of names to call.  "I just looked down and this person no longer exists.  And looking at all the people that I had called that morning and seeing a stack of files here and knowing that they had all died and that those were all families that no longer had that whole family and that element at that point," said Trojacek. 

All the volunteers talked about the struggles and devastation they saw.  They also said through the pain they saw people come together to support each other.

The experiences the volunteers had in New York changed them but all of the volunteers were happy to help and looking back are glad they went to help. 

"I think listening, listening to someone share their story and be able to help give direction in a time of crisis is incredible. That really is showing love beyond all boundaries I think," said McFarlane.

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