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Thread: FDNY In Arizona

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    FDNY In Arizona

    School visit renews link
    FDNY says thanks to Ironwood students

    By Tim Lake
    Special for The Republic
    March 09, 2002


    When the time came for New York City firefighter Chris Jensen to travel to Arizona to thank those who supported the FDNY after Sept. 11, he knew one of his stops would be Ironwood High School in Glendale.


    Jensen is part of a nationwide effort by New York City firefighters to let Americans know their support is appreciated. As part of that acknowledgement, 343 firefighters - the number who died in the attacks - are visiting locations around the country. Jensen was scheduled to make stops in Scottsdale but added Ironwood to the itinerary because he wanted to "see how everybody here was."

    The Ironwood High link began immediately after Sept. 11 when Ironwood students sent a banner to Stuyvesant High School, which is blocks from the World Trade Center. That gesture wound up mushrooming into a trip to New York City where student producers of Ironwood's televised teen interview show and a student newspaper editor, along with faculty members, had a serendipitous meeting at Ground Zero with President Bush, then New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and firefighters.

    The Ironwood group left behind mementos, including handmade unity bracelets and a banner that continues to hang in a New York City station house. Jensen received one of the bracelets, and he was able to contact Ironwood High because of a business card a high school counselor had stapled to the banner.

    "(Ironwood's support) helped in some of the darkest times," he told Michelle Knight, one of the producers of the school's closed-circuit talk show during his visit Monday. Knight and the program's faculty sponsor, Roseann Passiatore, interviewed Jensen and his wife of three years, Erin, who accompanied him on his trip to Arizona along with their 4-month-old daughter. The U.S. Conference of Mayors is footing the bill for the firefighters' trips.

    Jensen told Knight and Passiatore that Ground Zero was a burial ground and that it was not morbid for people to want to see the site.

    Jensen's wife is a nurse at a New York hospital and was at work and pregnant with their daughter when the attack occurred. She said that during the attack "it didn't hit me that Chris was at work."

    She added, "I'm blessed, because Chris is alive and well."

    Jensen and his wife believe the experience has changed their marriage for the better and advise, "Don't ever go to work fighting."

    As the six-month anniversary of the attacks comes near, Jensen and other firefighters have been warned by experts that it is an important milestone in their recovery.

    Although Chris Jensen has no problem discussing the events of Sept. 11 and says he believes he has generally recovered from the attacks, the full recovery of the FDNY, he says, will take a generation.

    When asked how Arizonans can help, Jensen responded that New York is a great place and that everyone should come visit the city. He also said that when you see a firefighter or police officer, show your support and wave. PHOTO BELOW
    by Tim Lake Special to the Arizona Republic 3-9-02
    Last edited by Neil; 03-09-2002 at 11:21 AM.

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