Editor’s Note: Many times we walk past giants and never see them. Such is the case with William Jimeno of New Jersey, one of only two men found alive after the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center (WTC) on September 11, 2001. As a first responder, he put his life on the line for others who didn’t survive. This Mossy Oak Pro Staffer and avid deer hunter has a story to tell that we all need to hear, remember and then draw courage from what happened. (See Part 1).
I didn’t know until a year later when I went to visit NYPSD USTruck One Base, the mid-town ESU -NYPSD1 (which is one of the New York City Police Department Emergency Services Units) that Sgt. John McLoughlin and I were the only survivors pulled out of the rubble. Here in New York and New Jersey, we don’t use the term SWAT to describe our emergency service units like other cities do. The reason we went there was because Truck One was the unit that Scott Strauss and Paddy McGee were from, and the Truck One team was who rescued Sgt. McLoughlin and me. Chuck Sereika, the civilian paramedic, who gave me IVs and medical attention, and the other guys who worked to get me out of the hole where I was buried at the WTC, came to Truck One Base as well to see and visit with us along with Scott and Paddy.
I learned later, after the team got me out of the hole, that about 18-other people went down in the hole and worked to get Sgt. McLoughlin free and out of the hole. I also learned from Chuck Sereika that the rescuers looked for other people under the debris for 3 weeks in areas like where they’d found Sgt. McLoughlin and me. But they never found anyone else. Sereika told me, “You two guys were the shining light for all the first responders and volunteers who worked so hard to discover other survivors.”
I also found out that law enforcement took the 19th hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui, over the rubble of the Twin Towers and told him how many people had died from that attack. He was heard to say, “That’s good - I hope they all died.” One of the officers turned to him and said, “No, you didn’t kill us all,” because that trooper knew mine and Sgt. McLoughlin’s story. The trooper said, “Y’all killed a lot of people, but you didn’t break our spirit!” I realized after 9-11, that because Sgt. McLoughlin and I kept fighting to survive, the terrorists didn’t have a total victory. And by surviving, we cheated them out of being able to say, “We killed them all.” And the terrorists never will kill all Americans.