Catching Up With a Ground Zero Paramedic
Paramedics from Rochester helped in New York City after the tragedy. Their job was to make sure all the folks working, digging and clearing debris at Ground Zero were okay.
Rural/Metro paramedic Dave Noltee was one of them. YNN reporter Anthony Pascale brought us his story from Ground Zero in 2001 and has this update ten years later.
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"I can still see the papers flying around down there and the smell of drywall dust everywhere in the air. It was pretty memorable,” said Dave Noltee, a Rural/Metro operations supervisor.
Noltee spent three days working the triage center at Ground Zero immediately after the attacks. He treated firemen and construction workers digging through the rubble for survivors and victims.
“When I first walked in the triage center a group had come back. They were heading back to the scene,” said Noltee. “They had a 1,000 yard stare. You could tell they were emotion-drained but they did not falter. They went right back to the pile and kept digging."
Noltee says he hasn't been back to Ground Zero since working there 10 years ago. He isn't sure if he'll ever go back.
"I think it should be hallowed ground and treated as such. It is one of the most condensed grave sites in the country and should be honored as such," said Noltee. "It was an attack on the United States and that is something we should never forget."
“I think a lot of folks because it is 10 years ago, and nothing has happened since, that level has dropped for them and they just can't appreciate it,” said Noltee.
Noltee isn't sure how to make other people do that, but knows September 11th has changed him.
"Just take a moment and take a look at your life and know that you could be going to work on a very benign day and suddenly it could all change," said Noltee.
Noltee spends September 11th a lot different from that day in 2001. He and his wife Liz celebrate their wedding anniversary. This year marks their 40th.