Salvation Army Members Remember 9/11
MILWAUKEE -- Ten years have passed since 9/11 but the images are still vivid to Salvation Army members Terri Leece and Ken Tregellas.
"I was pretty overwhelmed at first. The pictures you saw on TV didn't give you any indication how big it was," said Leece.
Treggellas agreed. He watched the second plane hit the twin towers on television with his kids, and they were the first ones he thought of when he found out he was going to ground zero.
"I wrote letters to my children, to my wife," he paused and took a deep breath, "I never gave them to them. It made you think that life is fragile."
Before he knew it, Tregellas was down at ground zero three and a half weeks after 9/11. He oversaw the supply and food tents for emergency workers.
"The piles were so hot you could literally work on a pile for an hour and a half before you needed a new pair of boots because they would melt," said Tregellas.
When Leece went to do the same thing as Tregellas in February 2002, the fires had calmed down, but the search was still hot.
"They were still working on removing debris and they were still recovering bodies," said Leece.
Both said all the workers were very appreciative of their services, and both say it was a humbling experience to be at ground zero.
"It made me appreciate my time with my family and friends. I'm very much more protective of them now," said Leece. "It also deepened my relationship with God."
"It made you realize what you did was important. Without that, another layer wouldn't have gotten accomplished," said Tregellas.
Neither Leece nor Tregellas have gone back to New York City since their trips there, but both would welcome the opportunity to go back to the city they say brought the nation together.
The Salvation Army is encouraging everyone to give a day of service in remembrance of the 9/11 victims. For information, log onto www.SAmilwaukee.org.