9/11 Memorial Docent Finds Healing in Volunteering

9/11 Memorial Docent Finds Healing in Volunteering

Sonia Agron, a 9/11 Memorial Museum docent, shows a visitor the virtual interactive for the Last Column in Foundation Hall.

A lifelong resident of Bronx, New York, Sonia Agron, now a 9/11 Memorial Museum docent, volunteered as a recovery worker on overnight shifts with the American Red Cross for weeks at ground zero after 9/11.

After waiting until the morning of September 12, 2001 to find out if her husband, NYPD officer Jose Agron, had survived the attacks as a first responder, she felt compelled to put her EMS training into action.

"The last message we got from him around 4 p.m. that day was that he was heading to 7 World Trade Center, which fell a short time later. We waited until 10, 11 p.m. and at that point, had family all around us," Sonia Agron said. "We started to plan for the funeral, having seen that video of 7 WTC coming down over and over on the news."

Agron credits her daughter for not losing hope after invoking a family motto 'without hope, we cannot cope.’

"After 9/11, for those few weeks I had lost my trust in the world. I couldn’t look at anyone on the train. It was paranoia. But coming down here, it restored my faith in humanity," Agron said. "I needed to do the overnight work. Meanwhile my husband was down here for the day shifts."

She says that once the 9/11 Memorial Museum put out a call for museum docents, she joined the first class that was prepared to open the museum in May of 2014.

"This was the best decision I could have made. I realize this is a place I need to be, sharing this story as we continue to heal. The training greatly enhanced what I knew and the speakers provided a different experience and really helped me complete the picture," Agron said.

A recent encounter with a couple visiting from Australia re-affirmed her connection to the site. One of them was a police officer and surprised to hear that Agron was a recovery worker at ground zero. "They asked for my story and I explained what it was like to not hear from my husband that day and how is spurred me to volunteer," Agron said.

While Sonia volunteers one day each week as a museum docent, her husband Jose Agron has also begun volunteering as a Visitor Services host.

If you are interested in becoming a museum docent volunteer, click here to fill out the application form. The deadline to complete the form is Friday, October 23.

By Anthony Guido, 9/11 Memorial Director of Communications