Sunday, September 18, 2011

Matt 24 Watch, 133b: The story of Trinidadian Genelle Guzman-McMillan, last WTC 9/11 survivor to be pulled from the rubble

Genelle Guzman-McMillan,
of Trinidad
Genelle Guzman-McMillan, of Trinidad, was a Port Authority worker, working on the 64th floor of one of the WTC towers, on September 11, 2001 when she felt the building shake and heard the noise of the first impact. A look out the window showed papers floating in the sky, but it was not clear what had happened until she saw news reports on a TV in a conference room. 
Strange as it seems today, she and her co-workers were instructed to stay in the building, and evacuation was considerably delayed. 

(The rule I was taught for industrial fire safety was that if a fire is not contained in a building within 10 seconds, evacuation should begin; because of how rapidly a fire can get to dangerous proportions.)

Eventually she and the other remaining fourteen workers were evacuated, and began walking down those stairs, only encountering a single fireman on the way up. She had walked down to the 13th storey level stairs with her circle of co-workers and paused to remove her 4-inch high heels, when the building collapsed, pinning and trapping her for 27 hours.

Her survival story is that of a miracle, complete with her prayers to commit her life to God and the mysterious Paul who held her hand and encouraged her as she waited for rescue. (She calls Paul, her angel.)

There are several interviews, but I think the one I like is the one with a radio interviewer,  Trey Ware [?], overlooking the tower ten years later:

A Christian Post news report on her new book, Angel in the Rubble: the Miraculous Rescue of 9/11's Last Survivor, is also helpful:
As Guzman-McMillan tells it 10 years later, Sept. 11, 2001, was just another normal day. Things were going great between herself and her boyfriend, she was happy with her job on the 64th floor of the WTC's north tower, and, despite her religious upbringing, she was getting along fine without God, having rejected Him long ago . . . the Trinidadian native shares how she and her co-workers started to flee their office in the 110-story building and how she paused on the 13th floor to remove her high-heels. It was then, Guzman-McMillan says, that her whole world literally came crashing down and her life changed forever.
Despite being trapped for 27 hours in the rubble, believing that she was surely going to die, Guzman-McMillan told The Christian Post that she has no regrets about her decisions that day.
"No, I have no regrets at all of what happened," the mother of four said. "It made me a better person. I have a deeper and closer relationship with God."
It is well worth the pause to reflect on the story of a fellow Caribbean person, caught up in the midst of a horror beyond her imagination.  Her response to God while caught in the rubble speaks to us, but also we need to ask why many young people for our region abandon the childhood faith they are raised with. 

Food for thought. END

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