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September 11, 2016

15 years

Today’s workout was in memory of all who lost their lives on 9/11/2001 and have fought for our country since that day.  We started class with a reading about the Man in the Red Bandana, later identified as 24-year-old Welles Crowther.  CFers carried a load the whole hour, and did step ups in between every station to symbolize his efforts leading and even carrying survivors down 17 flights of stairs again and again until he lost his life in the tower collapse.

“On September 11, 2001 when the attacks on the World Trade Center began, Welles was no longer an equities trader. He became a firefighter.

Through telephone calls, Welles was known to have been in his office at approximately 9:00 AM.

However, he was recovered on March 19, 2002 along with NYFD firefighters and emergency services personnel who had been operating a NYFD Command Center in the lobby of the South Tower.

Welles’ final hour remained a mystery until an article about September 11th printed in The New York Times (5/26/02) mentioned eyewitness reports of a mysterious man in a red bandanna on the 78th floor Sky Lobby of 2 World Trade Center when the second plane crashed into the south tower.

This is where Welles was likely to have been at that time, since he was ultimately able to get down to the main lobby before the tower collapsed.

Eyewitnesses reported that, after the plane had hit into the Sky Lobby, a man suddenly appeared “out of nowhere”. He was stripped to his T-shirt and wearing a red bandanna to cover his nose and mouth, protection against the smoke and debris.

This man organized a rescue effort on the floors high above where the official rescue workers were able to reach. He called for fire extinguishers, he found and directed dazed and confused victims to the only stairwell that was open for escape, and he carried a woman down to the 61st floor, then returned to the 78th floor to rescue more people. He turned back up once again after bringing the second group of survivors down.

Eyewitnesses report that the man spoke calmly, with authority, and was obviously well trained. He is reported to have saved many lives that day.

Knowing that her son always carried a red bandanna in his back right pocket, Welles’ mother believed that the description of the mysterious man fit her son: his character, his training and his likely location at the time. She sent recent photographs of her son to the eyewitnesses.

The witnesses confirmed that Welles Crowther was the “Man in the Red Bandanna” who helped to save their lives and others on September 11th.

The Crowther Family ultimately learned, almost 3 years later, that Welles and the members of FDNY with whom he was recovered, had been on their way back up the South Tower with a Hearst “jaws of life” tool to free victims who were trapped under debris, presumably in the Sky Lobby.”
– Man in the Red Bandana.com

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