After moving to New York from Columbus, Ohio in 2011 to attend culinary school, Mark Morrow visited the 9/11 Memorial Museum shortly following its May 2014 opening. He instantly became interested in the volunteer program and soon became a Visitor Services volunteer himself.
Now, he said, people often stop him on his way to the museum to ask him questions when they see his 9/11 volunteer vest.
Since starting the volunteer program this past June, Morrow said the experience is like nothing he has ever been involved with before. Morrow feels that he is fulfilling his role as a downtown Manhattan resident, and he said it feels "outstanding."
For example, Morrow said he was proud to be able to volunteer at the memorial on the anniversary this year.
"I appreciated being here on that day because there were so many people here, especially families that you are trying to help heal," he said.
While the experience is very rewarding, Morrow also realizes that it can be very difficult at times.
"It's tough," Morrow said. "I hope I never become immune to the emotions and what people go through, but I just hope I can become a little more accustomed to it."
Morrow recalled a time when he helped a guest who was unsure of where to start her experience at the museum. As Morrow explained the parts of the museum, she revealed to him that she had worked in the north tower, retiring just a week before 9/11.
"I explained to her the parts of the museum that were maybe going to be more difficult for her and the parts that might be more factual rather than emotional,” Morrow said. “So I explained where everything was and what everything was, and she ended up giving me a hug when she left."
Morrow hopes that guests of the museum will leave with "a better understanding of what happened and a feel for the impact of it all."
"This place is so well done," he said. "When people find out the museum is in the foot prints of the Twin Towers, they are just astonished."
In addition to volunteering, Morrow recently participated in the Tunnel to Towers 5K Run with the 9/11 Memorial team on Sept. 28. He and his fellow volunteers, as well as docent volunteers and staff, completed the three-plus mile run.
Learn more about volunteering here.
By Deena Farrell, 9/11 Memorial Communications Intern