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Raised by the ChurchGrowing up in New York City's Catholic Orphanages$

Edward Rohs

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780823240227

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823240227.001.0001

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Postscript: September 11, 2001

Postscript: September 11, 2001

(p.207) Postscript: September 11, 2001
Raised by the Church

Edward Rohs

Judith Estrine

Fordham University Press

Following 9/11, my office assigned me to provide assistance to the local governmental mental health agency. The 9/11 emergency health center started out at the Lexington Avenue Armory but it was immediately inundated with people needing multiple emergency service assistance in areas that ran the gamut from social services and mental health services to emergency access to food and clothing. When it ran out of space, the agency moved to Pier 92. Compounding the tragedy was the stark reality that many of the victims had been their family's primary wage earner. People were grieving and in need of material assistance.

One day while working on the pier, I saw a police officer snap at a person who was standing on line waiting for assistance. When I brought it to his attention, he said, “Look, I'm sorry. But I've been working twelve to sixteen hours, seeing all this sorrow and misery firsthand. All these people are getting services. But what about us police officers who are also under extreme stress and burned out? We need help also.”

I was so moved that I promised the police officer I would bring his concerns to the command post in our office. I learned that other colleagues, including Dr. Michael Lesser, medical director at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and Assistant Commissioner Isaac Monserrate, were hearing the same story. Shortly thereafter, the New York City Police Department, Fire Department, and Emergency Medical Services all received funding to assist our first responders.

(p.208) We know how people came together in the aftermath of this devastating event. Less talked about is the remarkable partnership that developed among the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. There were no turf battles and no pettiness. Besides the American Red Cross, all kinds of trade organizations came together to help. Even before the federal, state, and city funding started coming in to assist the thousands of families affected by this attack, agencies stepped up and used their limited resources. It is an event I will never forget, especially accompanying families that lost loved ones down to Ground Zero and standing in the pit, smelling all the toxic fumes.