Theme memo blog. News, discussion and information about the National September 11 Memorial & Museum

Meet A 9/11 Memorial Host

Visitor services host John Wilkes on duty near the entrance of the Memorial. (Photo by Allyson Philobos) Visitor services host John Wilkes on duty near the entrance of the Memorial. (Photo by Allyson Philobos)

The MEMO blog introduces the dedicated people working at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.  Whether serving as a visitor services host, security guard or facilities manager, each member of the memorial team assures a meaningful, safe and memorable experience for the millions of visitors coming to the World Trade Center to pay their respects.

John Wilkes, a Battery Park City native who lives in New Jersey, recently became a member of the visitor services host team. On the morning of 9/11, Wilkes, a high school student at the time, left his home near the World Trade Center to go to class. Like thousands of others that day, his mother was set to work at the World Trade Center that morning but she called in sick. After the attacks, the Wilkes family was forced to find shelter, as their home became completely covered with asbestos from the debris of the fallen towers. 

Wilkes joined the 9/11 Memorial because he “really wanted to help in any way I could.”

Today, memorial visitors can meet Wilkes at the entrance or on the plaza of the memorial, answering questions or leading youth discussions on conduct at the memorial.

The college graduate said he likes being part of a team working for a private nonprofit with an important mission.

“The people I work with...they all really want to work here and help out.  It’s great to be around such great people.”

By Allyson Philobos, Communications Associate for the 9/11 Memorial