For 9/11 Memorial Visitor Services Volunteer Kelly Morrissey, 35, of Bergen County, N.J., community service will forever connect her to the events of September 11. Morrissey began volunteering at age 16 with her local ambulance corps and continued throughout college. At 22, she moved to Hoboken, N.J., where on September 11, 2001, two planes flew into the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center just across the river. Morrissey put her EMT training to use and responded to the relief efforts in the days after the attacks by treating injured rescue workers on site.
“We came into Manhattan and took care of people getting injured on the pile,” said Morrissey. “I had a few friends that perished, as well as a number of family friends that were directly affected. It became a different way of handling it for me.”
While the experience helped Kelly cope with what happened at the time, it would take her another 12 years to return to the site. “I didn’t go even after the Memorial opened because it just upset me too much,” said Morrissey.
In 2013, however, Morrissey participated in the 9/11 Memorial 5K Run/Walk, which raises awareness about the National September 11 Memorial & Museum and encourages volunteerism in memory of 9/11. There she learned about the organization’s Visitor Services Volunteers who support public programming, provide information about 9/11 victims and educate visitors about the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site. Her passion for community service combined with her connection to the cause helped her to finally return to the site, but this time as a 9/11 Memorial Visitor Services Volunteer.
“Being there makes me feel like I’m giving back in a way I wasn’t able to do then,” said Morrissey. “The most valuable thing is the conversations you have with people. You can tell at visitors are touched to speak with us volunteers.” Volunteers for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum play a critical role in providing a meaningful experience for millions of visitors from around the world.
Volunteers help educate visitors on the events of 9/11 while humanizing the story with their personal experiences. Listen to more stories from the 9/11 Memorial Volunteers or visit 911memorial.org/volunteer to learn more about getting involved.
By Margaret Barng, Deputy Communications Manager