September 11 Digital Archive: XML Document

Story:I experienced the day as a day of numbness and shock. I wondered how our Aviation Incident Response Team was going to be involved. As a member of the Spiritual Care Aviation Incident Team (SAIR)team as it was known then, I realized that this was simply bigger than we had ever been trained for.

No amount of preparation for disasters could have prepared us for what we were about to experience in being called in to either one of the sites after 9-11.

Response:I was initially called to be the Night Chaplain at the Brooklyn headquarters in New York, two weeks after 9/11. I was called at 4:30pm PST Wednesday afternoon to consider responding immediately, and by 8am Thursday I was on a 767 from Seattle to JFK. It was a nearly empty flight.

No more than 20 or 30 people were on board. Briefing and intake Thursday afternoon and Friday work began. By Sunday, I was moved to support and coordinate the Spiritual Care response at Ground Zero for Respite Centers 1, 2, & 3 as well as the Temporary Mortuary and Disaster Mortuary downtown. By Wednesday, I was asked to be A/O for Spiritual Care and helped coordinate work at Ground Zero and Brooklyn, including assessment of needs at the Staten Island Landfill.

We coordinated over 600 spiritual caregivers and the City of New York, quickly realized that they were in deep need of support from Red Cross when it came to Spiritual Care.

Affects:This really reinforced the incredible wealth of extremely qualified volunteers and trained experts we have in Red Cross. We re-wrote the book after 9/11 but the volunteers never forgot the basics, which are: "Be There" and "Be Real".

Red Cross Volunteer:yes

Red Cross Employee:no

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