Richard Zimbler is an IT Manager for a global financial research company. On September 11, he had begun studying for a career in technology and classes were located directly across the street from the World Trade Center. He witnessed the attacks from this vantage point and later from his apartment, only five blocks away. Richard helped his neighborhood recover from the attacks, including efforts to prompt the EPA to accelerate its clean up. He was also active in the struggle to preserve WTC artifacts and led the "Save the Survivors' Stairway" campaign resulting in its relocation to the 9/11 Memorial Museum. Richard spoke about the Stairway at a local Community Board meeting, saying that "neighborhood residents carry a special responsibility to be good stewards of the history that happened here". He also feels that survivors share a unique burden to "bear witness" and volunteered his time leading tours for the Tribute WTC Visitor Center, sharing stories about living Downtown in the months after September 11. Richard is a strong believer in survivors helping survivors and joined a wartime mission to Israel to use his experiences to aid civilian evacuees. He currently serves as President of the WTC Survivors' Network and has been a Board member since 2005.
Peter Miller is a consulting planner specializing in aviation, sustainability, community resiliency, historic preservation and economic development. His 25 year tenure with the Port Authority included evacuating his office on the 65th floor of One World Trade Center on both September 11th 2001 and February 26th 1993. Since its beginning, he has been an active participant in the Network’s leadership. Miller filed the applications to New York State and the IRS that were approved and gave the Network not-for-profit status. During his service to the Port Authority Miller served in a variety of airport planning, real estate and financial positions. His last assignment was to manage the World Trade Center Artifact archives which housed more than 2,000 items, mostly steel components salvaged from the site after 9/11. It was Miller’s honor to assist the National September 11th Memorial Museum and the New York State Museum as they developed their collections. He also developed a program that gave away the remaining pieces for memorials in more than 1,000 towns in all 50 states and many foreign countries. He has given tours of the site for the WTC Tribute Visitors Center and he frequently speaks to middle school classes and other groups about the history of the WTC and lessons to be learned from surviving its attacks.
Elia Zedeno was born in Cuba and entered the United States in 1971. She was in the North Tower on September 11, having just completed 21 years working there as a Financial Analyst for the Port Authority of NY and NJ. Having also survived the 1993 WTC bombing, Elia has learned that survival goes beyond the act of merely escaping disaster. For her, the aftermath of survival becomes the greatest challenge. Through her work with the Steering Committee she tries to demonstrate by her example that the process in healing really does exist. Elia also volunteers her time to lead tours for the WTC Tribute Center. She likes to say that through the tours she tries to "remind people of the great damage and pain our actions can bring about when we close our eyes to the infinite number of choices." Elia has been a member of WTC Survivors' Network Steering Committee since 2003.
Scott Kestenbaum is using his extensive business background to assist the Survivors' Network with its goal of representing the September 11th Survivor Community. He is a native New Yorker and joined WTCSN due to his longtime emotional ties to the Twin Towers. Scott volunteered for the rescue effort in the days after 9/11. His experience in building and developing information metrics will be invaluable in helping the Network to continue its goal of providing community and advocacy for survivors. He deeply understands that survivors make an important contribution to the historic record.
Janice Cilento, (LMSW) is a professional trauma therapist, who coordinates outreach and program development, and provides counseling for St. Vincent Catholic Medical Center World Trade Center Healing Services of Lower Manhattan. She is also the creator and coordinator of the Community Concert and Healing Arts Exhibition, an annual evening highlighting the art and writing pieces created by individuals affected by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. Janice has dedicated the last five years of her professional career to assisting family members, rescue and recovery workers and survivors heal from the effects of September 11. She also serves on the 9/11 Living Memorial Survivors' Committee. Janice has served on the Steering Committee since 2003, focusing on membership needs.
Lori Mogol works as a user interface designer in the financial industry. She worked in both 4 World Trade Center and 130 Liberty Street, also a casualty of September 11. Home on the morning of the attacks, Lori witnessed the events from her apartment which directly faces the Trade Center, five blocks away. She feels that "there is a profound intimacy in witnessing the final moments of all those people." Her apartment building was evacuated later that day, and she could not return home for several weeks. The period of dislocation and subsequent return highlighted to her the importance of connecting with neighbors, regardless of "whether you even know their names." In her continuing goal to maintain the spirit of kindness she witnessed during and after September 11, Lori has participated in Downtown area projects, including community preparedness and tenant issues. She also volunteers her time assisting tours given by the WTC Tribute Center. Lori has served on the Steering Committee since 2005.
Linda Gormley works as a senior executive assistant in a financial corporation. On the morning of September 11, 2001 Linda witnessed the attacks on the World Trade Center from street level. She saw the second plane crash right over her head as she had ran for her life down Liberty Street. Today, Linda is an active advocate for the needs of the September 11 community. She collaborates with the Red Cross' September 11th Recovery Program, and volunteers her time to lead tours for the WTC Tribute Center. In her own words, leading tours gives her a "chance to tell the stories of those that were lost and spend time with other people who had similar experiences to mine." She has also traveled to Oklahoma City as an exchange ambassador for the WTC United Family Group. Linda has found that her community work has been "the most incredibly healing thing" she could do for herself. She has been on the Steering Committee since 2005 and wants to focus her attention this year on Membership Event Planning and Outreach.
Charles E. Kaczorowski, affectionately known as Charlie K, works as a project manger for the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DCC). After the September 11 attacks, he led the midnight to 8 am shift of city technical workers assigned to the cleanup and recovery effort. His experiences of toiling for 10 months at Ground Zero led "Charlie K" to design his own commemoration of September 11 and its aftermath called the "Living Memorial". The design captures what he saw that fateful morning, as well as what he saw and felt those 10 months at Ground Zero. The installation, which he hopes can be built some day, is dedicated to the tens of thousands of uniformed services, volunteers and survivors who put their lives on hold as they toiled away in the rescue and recovery effort. (The complete design of the "Living Memorial" can be viewed on our website.) For the past four September 11 anniversaries, Charlie K has also stood Honor Guard in "the Pit", representing the DDC. This opportunity is an honor he takes very seriously. One of Charlie's goals in joining the Steering Committee this year is to help reach out to new members and coordinate events.
Mickey Kross served as a Lieutenant in the Fire Department of New York City and responded to the scene at the World Trade Center on September 11. He was inside the North Tower, and miraculously escaped death when it collapsed. Mickey subsequently volunteered to do search and recovery missions at the site, and worked there for many months. His amazing story was recently featured on the History Channel in a documentary called "Miracle in Stairway B". Mickey has recently retired from the FDNY, and now collaborates with the Memorial Museum Foundation and volunteers his time speaking on tours for the WTC Tribute Center. Mickey says he doesn't like to revisit the memories of that day, but feels compelled to at least try to remember and express what happened there "for the sake of those who can't." One of his goals in joining the Steering Committee this year is to contribute to our continuing efforts to reach out to the rescue and recovery workers, who are as much "survivors" as anyone. Mickey says "I have a very strong sense of purpose. It makes one feel very alive".
Manuel Chea was born in Peru of Chinese parents and immigrated to the United States in 1974. On the morning of September 11, he was working as a Systems Officer for a major international banking institution in the North Tower, and was an evacuee like thousands of others that day. In the aftermath, Manuel saw a greater purpose to his life and changed careers to devote his time to helping others with disaster preparedness, and aiding the victims of other disasters. Manuel is currently involved with his Church's Disaster Response Program, and is a full-time student at the Metropolitan College of New York pursuing a Masters Degree in Emergency and Disaster Management. As a charter member of the Survivors' Network Speakers Bureau, Manuel has spoken publicly of his experiences on September 11and its aftermath. He also represented us this past September in "Lessons Forgotten: Survivors Bear Witness" - a speakers panel co-hosted by the WTC Survivors' Network and the NY Tolerance Center. One of the lessons Manuel has learned from his memories of September 11 is that "the weight of this experience is something you carry with you forever." But he would quickly add that "you eventually learn to carry it in such a way that it doesn't have to weigh you down." "You learn to live your life, to cherish life, and to enjoy your loved ones, even as you carry the weight of this experience." Manuel has been a member of the Steering Committee since 2004.