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Thread: A Farewell to Workers At Chapel

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    A Farewell to Workers At Chapel

    A Farewell to Workers At Chapel

    By JOSE MARTINEZ
    Daily News Staff Writer

    or one final time, Ground Zero workers crowded yesterday into the lower Manhattan church that for 261 days was their respite from the horror.

    Volunteers at St. Paul's Chapel on Broadway at Fulton St. saluted the workers during the last midday worship service before the end of the recovery efforts one block away.

    "It's been an oasis in hell," said Port Authority Police Officer Frank Accardi. "It's family in here."

    The 236-year-old Episcopal church was converted into a relief center in the days after the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center. For 24 hours a day, seven days a week, its doors stayed open as rescue and construction workers sought prayer, food or even naps

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    WORKERS HAIL CHAPEL AS HAVEN ON EARTH

    WORKERS HAIL CHAPEL AS HAVEN ON EARTH

    By MAGGIE HABERMAN

    May 30, 2002 --

    Workers who found a second home in St. Paul's Chapel near Ground Zero yesterday honored the volunteers who created a "haven of hospitality" in the historic house of worship.

    The last public service at St. Paul's before the chapel closes for its first cleaning since Sept. 11 was a loving tribute to the volunteers who spent nearly nine months providing exhausted workers with soft cots and hot meals, foot rubs and Band-Aids - and the will to keep going during their grim task of searching for remains.

    "These people are my family," construction worker Tom Geraghty, who lost his sister-in-law, Kathy Hunt, told the hushed crowd of 250 people.

    "These people took hold of us and helped us through this. It's a wonderful place, this sanctuary, this refuge from the devastation."

    The Rev. Daniel Matthews, the rector of St. Paul's - which is part of Trinity Church on Broadway - wore a cloak almost completely covered with patches from fire and police departments around the country.

    The church became "a haven of hospitality," said the Rev. Lyndon Harris, "in which those people who enter the door are bathed in love."

    The 236-year-old chapel where George Washington once prayed - located just a block from the former World Trade Center site - miraculously withstood the force of the Twin Towers collapse on Sept. 11.

    Within a day, it turned into an all-purpose refuge for workers digging through the debris.

    Cots and makeshift stands for food and medical care lined the walls after Sept. 11. A massage therapist's table was placed near the altar. A chiropractor set up shop at the other end of the chapel.

    Some 5,000 people volunteered their time - and their love.

    The effort ended up costing about $1 million, all funded by private donors, church official said.

    Those who couldn't come themselves sent letters, cards and prayers. Handmade paintings of flags cover nearly every inch of the walls inside - and the gates around the church.



    http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/49153.htm

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