On September 11, 2001, Sofia Lachapelle was a young field reporter for Univision Channel 41 in New York. She and her team were covering that day’s political primary, but they were quickly reassigned to the World Trade Center as the terrorist attacks began to unfold.
When the Towers collapsed, Lachapelle became trapped in a news truck alongside her cameraman and news truck operator. A police officer rescued them, and firefighters helped to clean their faces of the dust and debris so they were able to breathe again.
Understanding their mission to inform viewers about what was happening, “My team and I stayed at the World Trade Center for days after, working around the clock,” said Lachapelle. “We continued to cover the events at Ground Zero, and I spoke to many family members looking for their loved ones, doing my best to help them any way was possible.”
Since 9/11, Lachapelle has continued her commitment to journalism, garnering Emmy nominations and a dedicated audience. Her experience as a 9/11 survivor also encouraged her to renew her perspective on life.
Lachapelle says, “After being rescued that morning and looking back, I live my life with a greater sense of purpose.” In recent years, Lachapelle’s purpose has been championing autism awareness causes in honor of her two sons who are on the autism spectrum, including through the work of her foundation 1 Paso A La Vez.
“I wake up every day working for my community, for love and respect for this cause. That’s the way I can give back to God and to the universe for being alive.”
From Lachapelle’s point of view, simply being alive is reason to give back to the community. In her words, “If you can wake up every morning, if you can breathe, if you can see the world, let’s do something for it.”
Despite her harrowing experience nearly 20 years ago at the World Trade Center, Lachapelle moves forward with hope, resilience, and gratitude. Her positive attitude defines her.
“I am a 9/11 survivor, a woman, a mother, and an autism activist. But above all, I am a very grateful human.”
By 9/11 Memorial Staff