The Heidcamp Family
When the attacks occurred on the World Trade Center complex on Sept. 11, 2001, pandemonium occurred as people rushed in all directions – some to escape harm, some to help rescue efforts and some trying to locate loved ones. Not knowing if those they cared about were safe or how to reconnect with them added to the alarm and fear.
|Maura Heidcamp of Plymouth, Massachusetts, was among those who were at the World Trade Center when the horrific attacks occurred. She was on the 55th floor of the north tower for a business meeting, while her husband, Bob, was sightseeing.
When the building was struck, she and others took to the stairs and started making their way downward to escape. As they descended, firefighters passed them going upward in the stairwell, instructing them to shut off their cell phones and continue going down. When they reached street level, Maura said, “We were wet from the sprinklers, upset and still unaware of what was happening. People were screaming for us to get away from the building, and I could see part of the tower was on fire. Then the building started to collapse, and everyone took off running as the cloud of dust rolled toward us.”
She took temporary shelter in a nearby building and borrowed a cell phone, her thoughts on locating her husband. These were terrifying moments as neither Maura nor Bob knew where the other was. “We both felt there was a good chance we would never see each other again,” said Maura.
Unable to reach her husband by phone, she called her mother-in-law, who had heard from Bob. He had run toward the towers, knowing his wife was inside, and got there in time to see the second plane strike the second tower. He later made his way safely to the Manhattan Bridge, along with thousands fleeing the disaster area.
Exhausted and lost, Maura went to a church and told a priest she didn’t know what to do. He directed her to an American Red Cross emergency relief center at New York Technical College. “There was food and water and telephones there – lots of working telephones,” said Maura. She was able to call her mother-in-law, who in turn, relayed Maura’s location to Bob.
He and Maura reunited at the Red Cross center, both uninjured. “We’re grateful the Red Cross was there for us and other families, providing hope and comfort when it was needed most.”
To honor those lost on 9/11, the Heidcamps have become regular Red Cross blood donors. They have donated blood every year since 2003 at the annual Red Cross Sept. 11 Day of Remembrance blood drive at Fenway Park. Donating blood is their special way of demonstrating the continued perseverance and generosity of the American spirit in the face of tragedy. “My life was saved that day. I think donating blood is a good way to potentially help save someone else. I can’t imagine a better feeling.”
© The American National Red Cross | 2015-APL-01353