9/11 Family Member Reflects on Volunteer Experience

9/11 family member and volunteer Rose Fay smiles in her volunteer outfit during a sunny day on Memorial plaza.
Photo of Rose Fay on the Memorial plaza. Photo by Jin Lee.

As a family member of a firefighter who lost his life on 9/11, I've had close ties with the 9/11 Memorial and Museum and have seen the outstanding effort put forth by each employee and volunteer to make every visitor comfortable with being in such a sensitive place.

Wanting to give that experience to visitors I encounter, I felt encouraged to volunteer this summer. I heard about the opportunity through a friend and immediately signed up.

I've experienced nothing but warmth and compassion at the memorial and museum, from wonderful coworkers to enthusiastic visitors. Each person was eager to learn something new each day, whether about 9/11 or about another person. The caring attitude starts immediately at the morning meeting and is spread to each visitor.

Of the many experiences I've had volunteering, my favorite has been when a man walked up to me and started sharing his story. The trust that this man put in me simply because I wore a blue volunteer vest felt incredible. The events of his day 15 years ago were fresh in his mind as if it occurred that morning. Seeing the emotions flow with every word, showed me the effect that 9/11 had on not only New Yorkers, but the world. I hope everyone can experience the same satisfaction from such a rare opportunity.

I attend The Bolles School in Jacksonville, Fla. and am approaching my senior year. Moving to the south has taught me that more than just New York was affected by the attacks.

The experience I've had at the memorial and museum has made me more ambitious for my future of working with charities and hopefully running my own business. I learned many lessons in the time I've volunteered and hope to use those in my future to allow me to become more experienced and successful as I attempt to run a business and help those in need.

I highly recommend this program to all high school students that are eager to learn more about the culture of New York by helping others.

By Rose Fay, 9/11 Memorial and Museum Volunteer

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