Local Hero on 9/11
September 11, 2013
CORNING -- (WENY) Brian McConnell was in Albany with other American Red Cross workers for a disaster leadership meeting on September 11th, 2001.
Little did he know he would be using that training much sooner than he thought.
"The morning of September 11th we got the call following the first plane and we were treating it as a aviation response so the local New York Chapter
took the lead on that and deployed their people," said McConnell. "The call came in regarding the second plane and suddenly the reality of something bigger than just an aviation incident became apparent."
He was only meant to be away for two days, and was gone for three weeks. He spent the first days helping at the Red Cross call center taking calls for missing persons or people wanting to volunteer. Then he spent the following weeks at the respite center taking care of those working at ground zero everyday.
"You would leave the chapter in New York City and drive down west avenue and people would line west avenue from the edge of the green zone all the way down to the red zone."
Through all this, how did he stay calm?
Brian said for him after three weeks of searching, helping, grieving the message was clear.
"It's the power of people," said Brian. "It's not something that any of us ever envision doing, but I'm honored to know that there are individuals out there that are willing to do whatever it takes."
Brian doesn't look back on the events of September 11th with sadness, he looks back with pride for what people can accomplish.
"It's just really comforting to know that when a challenge presents itself of this magnitude people come together to help."
When Brian returned home, he said people recognized him as a hero, he said he was just doing his job.
September is also National Preparedness Month.. If you want to get involved with the American Red Cross go to redcross.org.