Will Jimeno, a New York City police officer, was one of the first responders to the events of 9/11. As he worked to search and rescue any survivors, he became trapped under rubble for 13 hours. Jimeno had to keep his morale up, though he knew almost each of his team members had not survived.
The movie World Trade Center, directed by Oliver Stone and released in theaters in 2006, recounted the harrowing events of the day, the film following the story of Officer John McLoughlin and Officer Will Jimeno fighting for their lives.
Though Jimeno was able to return to his family after that fateful day, surviving the initial collapse was only the beginning of the story. Multiple surgeries, forced retirement, survivor's guilt, depression, and learning to live again with PTSD were waiting outside of the rubble.
It was important to Jimeno that he continue to help those who have also struggled with or are currently struggling with PTSD symptoms. He has teamed with renowned clinical psychologist, Michael Moats, to share his message of faith, hope, and love and how these three things helped him navigate the uncharted waters of learning to live again after the tragedy of September 11th.
Although Sunrise Through the Darkness speaks directly to first responders, Will's message is relatable to anyone who has suffered trauma or loves someone who has. Sunrise Through the Darkness marks the 20-year anniversary of 9/11 and gives honor to those that died through Will's continued work of healing and serving others.
In addition to a book for adults dealing with trauma disorders, Jimeno also explored his sense of wonder and his life experiences in a new children’s book, Immigrant, American, Survivor.
The beautifully written bilingual book tells story of Jimeno’s life, from immigrating from Columbia to the United States as a young boy to becoming a police officer in NYC to heroically saving lives after the attack on 9/11.
The book speaks to children on many levels, and it does a wonderful job connecting with child immigrants and teaching American-born children about their struggles. In fact, the book also helps to gently introduce children to the events of that fateful day in 2001, now 20 years ago, and honoring those we lost.
It’s important to note that Jimeno has written the book in alternating Spanish and English, a gesture that makes sure to include immigrant children of Hispanic descent. The book features inspirational lessons from Jimeno’s own mother, such as the lesson that, “No matter how difficult life may get, you must never, ever give up. Or as she would say ‘Nunca te rindas!’”
This inclusion speaks volumes to the central message of the story—anyone can be a hero. Jimeno and his co-author Charles Ricciardi masterfully weave together a special tale of patriotism on this anniversary of 9/11.
Will Jimeno’s two books, Sunrise Through The Darkness and Immigrant, American, Survivor, are available to purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the shop at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.
Mossy Oak is proud and honored to consider Will Jimeno family—he is a hero and a hunter, and we’ll always consider his friendship a blessing.