Last Man Down

I cannot remember the last time I wanted to read a book, cover to cover. But I am doing so right now.

Sure there have been the occasional motivational reading assignments we have been directed to read as a team. The Fred Factor, the Fish Series, and my favorite, Monday Morning Leadership. But the last time I went out of my way to purchase a book and could not wait to dive in? I think it was Judy Blume's Superfudge at my 6th grade book fair. However, the abridged story of unthinkable bravery I heard Wednesday morning left me wanting more. And 25 bucks seemed like a small amount to drop ot be able to meet the Hero whose memories spilled onto the pages of this book.

Chief Richard Picciotto is the highest ranking member of they New York City Fire Department to have survived the collapse of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. He was one of the heroes who was running towards the burning towers as everyone else was running away. He was also the man who gave the order to evacuate the North Tower after the South one fell. He and his men made it from the 35th floor to the 6th before 110 floors of steel and concrete fell on them.

His story is a riveting tale of courage and heroism that left me humbled and grateful as I listened to his first hand account from the inside of our nation's weakest moment. Even though there were 4000 people in the Orlando, Florida convention hall where he was speaking, you could hear a pin drop as he pounded the podium and tried to share with us some semblance of the noise and the shaking he experienced. And I am sure the goose bumps I had when he got to the part where he escaped were shared by everyone in the room.

A few hours later I stood in line to meet this man. Each person in front of me thanked him for what he had done, and it occurred to me he must have heard that a million times in the last 14 years. But when I was there, and he gave me a firm handshake, I could think of nothing more fitting to say. The funny part is that as he looked me in the eye and said "I was only doing my job", I believe he heard every thank you and meant what he said back every time.

If you have never heard this man's story, I recommend it. The book is called Last Man Down. I read it almost entirely during my nightmare travel day back to Columbus Thursday. But I will tell that story in another blog a little later.

Day # 840. The further we get away from that horrible day, the more we forget what it felt like.. I am thankful for the reminder of how lucky we all are to live in this country and to have people like Chief Richard Picciotto looking out for all of us each day. It is not only good to be me, but good to be all of you as well.

More blogs to come this weekend..........









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