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The Unlikely Relationship Between Two of NYC's Finest

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
September 12, 2022 3:05 am

The Unlikely Relationship Between Two of NYC's Finest

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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September 12, 2022 3:05 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, we hear about 9/11 firefighter Niels Jorgensen and billionaire David Koch, and the tragedies that brought them together.

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Lee Habeeb
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9/11 special urinal American stories that we bring the story of an unlikely relationship between two of New York City's finest firefighter name Nils Jorgensen the late billionaire David Cope Mills was off duty on 9/11 and when the first plane struck the World Trade Center complied with the Total Recall order for all firemen to report to their firehouses. Use Nils to tell the rest of the store started driving my firehouse and all of a sudden on the radio I hear somewhat see on my drive to smoke and whatnot flying over the Verrazano Bridge and my wife calls me frantically where are you where I am on the bridge and going.

She says no you're not. Listen to what your dad my dad would always tell me if this ever recall you follow it you could end up dead and no one is looking for you and for some unknown reason there was no traffic. It was eerie and am flying and I'm going to wait a minute I don't have my five year with how my going to do. She hung up the phone, screaming at me and my wife doesn't curse. Should the seven buildings going to go down and die go to command where supposed to and I heard my father in my ear just follow doesn't say a lot when he says something profound memorable was St. Kate be a freelancer, follow your orders. You following the training something real bad goes down, and this was after the 93 bombing because I was at that least always talk states going to happen again.

You said you follow your orders go to firehouse get you gear and you get your further pending orders. I veered off the highway down into Brooklyn where I worked.

I checked and I was the first one I called into command said you get 12 guys grabbed city Boston get over there and guys came screaming in watching TV and just as we run out the street to get the city bus to take us. We see the tower go down first one and I believe the second tower hit was first collapsed and I iced I dropped to my knees and I started crying and praying guys look guys, our our truck from our house was gone. It was at the scene we were in the empty house and convening an pooling from their and I said guys 114 is dead. That's our truck like looking at me.

We talked about when I came in the door I heard our boss Dennis on the radio 114 truck 24 is our code of on scene right when he and West where you need us and the nickname of our truck is tally-ho tally-ho responded to the command post West Albany for further orders as the last I heard my lieutenant's rookie's owners recall probably is probing some sign that day. Another matter he was killed and that Lieut. ended up saving our crew because as they were going into the building he saw what he thought to be partial collapsing. Tell the guys turn around this building is coming down behind us. And as they turned around and ran the dove under a truck. The building came down, the guys 40 feet 50 feet behind the underwritten net dead in the pile in my lieutenant one forcefully did loose his son saved our crew. Unbeknownst to us is that was going on.

We got into the boss and as we were coming over the Brooklyn Bridge to help and we got into the city and started toward second building just came down and I wasn't there in the building when it collapsed and I would never claim to be, but I made my best effort to get there and the cruelest I got there horrified because we knew that our on shift with two guys that we love them work with probably underneath the pile and by the grace of God that Lieut. save that shift five guys plus himself, but unfortunately the other ladder company 105 which I have actually my first command in the city where my lieutenant son working, his son was killed in a strange part about it was senior man older firefighter working that day on that shift with his song was working with me on the day of 1993 bombing. He was my senior man over six he's currently on hours later the evening of the first bombing 93 looked around and he said you know a kid. He goes these much didn't do it right, they blew it up in the middle.

But if they didn't call it by, they would be this today in the building were dropped and he said to me that the next time to come back to do it right.

Thank don't kid yourself for second and that man Hank Miller. She died, he died that they almost prophesies the end, and just and we just we regrouped and redeployed onto the main pile because there was there was confirmed couple people that were still alive and we were working on shuttling gear and out in trying to just move the brave one, not as with any older guy branched off.

Maybe 100 yards to another section just down a whole underneath a bunch steel and all he could hear was sand dropping every once in a while like as if it was rolling downhill and was eerily quiet and he would just hear some hissing and that was the gas line ruptured just a kid when you hear I said I hear hissing.

I hear that the breeder just everything was pulverized in the grace and now I know that what else do you hear I stop for second. Several hear anything said arthritis is because everyone's dead waste of time. He goes those commonalities kid they're all gone. He goes look at the concrete look at this deal happen to you think bodies are going to survive through not and he was right and the right everybody was pulverized and everybody was just crushed. It was just horrible and we stayed till about 4 o'clock the following morning we couldn't breathe, couldn't we just take them filled the throat as I could see a point in time, and Lieut. sizes guys need to regroup and try to get back to firehouse cleanup.

Get some supplies and get right back here in the morning so we hopped on a city bus and walked down to the Battery Tunl., Nicholas the buses, hopefully to get back over Brooklyn and we returned to Brooklyn, and the guy couldn't some reason I can't lie.

The main street where we were on say drop this off so we left.

We walked up the hill and will have a hard time breathing felt like we swallowed voxel razor blades and I was really having trouble walking receives the worst sore throat you've ever had done down from your for your mouth to the incisor stomach and I never want the older guys with the signal guide wrote that I should not know then we made an honest discrepancy breathing world that 20 guys that would affect Dale from our crew. I think I think it was cancer and so few of the guys I've been blessed with only one refuted three different cancers, and by the grace of God.

Those particular guys alive 1 mile.

The difference came out three different cancers, and he's been dead now for almost 2 years and like I was right.

He was right about all of us put a lot of that died after the fact from those hours the first day, second day, 50th day 80 stay down there and we went back to firehouse and cleaned off and we just got to keep dust out of trying out a full time horizon.

We got some fresh closing but the dirty toxic close that we are wearing being thrown out Truman washer Truman firehouse laundry with room in our locker with a set for couple weeks we got a chance to do laundry and you have you gear the subsequent days five years filthy and caked with this toxic crap and send back your car and if you're lucky enough to get a day off or half day off. Try to clean the car out mediatory baby seat back, not knowing that couple years later say all this stuff is really really bad toxic and I got my kids read this crap to and when we return will continue with the story of Nils Jorgensen here on our American story, and we returned stories and 9/11 special and with firefighter Nils Jorgensen in his story. When we last left off fellow firefighter had predicted, they get sick from the work that Nils and the others do at Ground Zero and he was right. Let's continue with the story. Story short, I find it out diagnosed to the leukemia the way they explained to me was different than working cancer. It's not like a stage MCCXXXIV: liver leukemias like a car driving on a road. As they explained to get to a cliff, the wheels go off your debt.

So I thought where I might go slowly from the front wheels off the cliff probably had about another three or four days to live and try to intervene with the spleen get all the swelling down the drilling of my hip found out exactly what cancer was an it's the rarest leukemia. You can have this 49 different ones. There's only 500 cases in all of North America. Here and I was the seventh 9/11 rescuer in six months to come down with it and couple the guys already died and my cancer doctor said to me, is this statistically impossible that that many of you have this rare of the leukemia by the grace of God I was given very, very high doses of chemotherapy.

It's leave given in layman's perspective, but drugs call platter being give you seven days of nonstop chemotherapy needs massive bags IV bags and from what I told my doctor. It's almost like the equivalent of two years of chemo jammed into a week burns out your bone marrow entirely in hopes that your own seedling marrow generate a my angel on earth and I haven't got a chance to recapture with them and I regret this. Shame on me for not I had a male nurse named Mike Nunez and Mike Nunez was my angel on earth and it was many other nurses, but Mike was my main guy and he explained to me he said listen because I'm going to come in have to wear hazmat suit and start you up on this like a hazmat suit. He does listen, because you can't get this because your fireman, he goes this stuff exposed to air is so caustic that it will burn through plastic. He said what in your vein in your body. It's going to do its job. It'll burn your gonna feel like you're burning your entire body.

But that means the drug is working so I civil my comfort get it all on a distant dog and I got my three young kids at the time.

I mean this is a years ago, so I got 1411 and nine, while I got through this man and it was like I was flashing back to my life. My dad was in the fight of his life in 1978 when I was 10 years old, was basically totally in end-stage non-Hodgkin's lymphoma but if he was willing to be a test pilot for a new drug time. They were tried on him in the hopes that would work and if it did, and he would die and he believe it or not, is still here is 86 my father called him up in my father's just disorder the greatest guys it's walked this earth peace to get up before the morning on Thursday.

My mom would drop down to a train from Staten Island. We take the ferry and in the subway to downtown Brooklyn because he was assigned to the best job when he got cancer, so I'm sorry to go on a tangent, but something I just have to express this guy would get up before the morning Thursday and Thursday was his treatment day work and at noon instead of going to lunch back on the subway to the ferry to train my mom and pick him up and bring them to the cancer center and a juice him up with some heavy new probably similar when I got back in 78 it was cutting edge. He was a test pilot for a lot of people and you get home and within two hours to be vomiting everywhere and and diarrhea and and is a 10-year-old was heartbreaking. This going to wipe the vomit off his mouth but he couldn't drink because we just check tile right out so I just try to keep him comfortable, and wiped his mouth and clean them careful and the next day he be sick is to be then it was weird after midnight on Friday would start to subside Saturday morning to put on a rope to come down and try to sit in a chair and have some orange juice and some water and start the rehydrate and Sunday.

Yes my mom to make them eggs and toast black coffee and on Monday she get back on the train and ferry and the subway. Any repeat that process. Two weeks later and he did that for four years and this guy is still in remission to lose days 80 years old.

So I called him up tonight before treatment start. Mike said to me that if you like your burning to death. The minute it starts listed that how'd you do it.

He should kick keep low, which means must stay below the fire is keep low and you'll do it now.

Is it said I love you.

The phone Mike came in my going as the nurse came in and we started the IV jumped on the line and splashed and he's got a hazmat suit on land there and all of a sudden the IV tube start smoking and going on fire and like Mike Mike what the freight do not put that in the Eagles knows him so I am sorry goes. I got started all over. He goes you can be okay but you have to take this. Are you going to die. I thought Obama will man conversation we just hadn't thought about those three little kids came in little while before that my wife so I might hit me.

Let's do this in about a second after he he hooked me intervene with the IV. I started feeling his burning going on my own and was on my shoulder and it was in my head and it was within 20 seconds was flushed through my whole body had been burned before. I think I've been caught ended up in burn center and it's the worst feeling in the world when you're trapped and that's how I felt, but it was from the inside out and it was so painful but I wouldn't take a pain med because I have a brother with prescription med problems will have United want to go that way of thinking maybe it's in the genes. I don't know and I laid there for the first six days and I felt like I was burned in the bathroom inside my body and I cried and prayed and I want to die and had a vision of my mother-in-law, my beloved mother-in-law died six months before I was sick this morning with the church every day.

Beautiful Irish woman and she currently boyfriend because it sit and talk and think they understood. I got her cyber think like to talk and she came to me in a vision and I was praying to die, and unbeknownst to me, I thought it was. Hallucinations was his raging thunderstorm going on, but it was really raging thunderstorm and she came to me and I had blips of bullies people I loved what died but then all of a sudden she's facing me.

She's laughing to supply my boyfriend and we called her Nana said not want to come home.

Please take me with you. I can't do this any more catechetical already and she smiles is now I get my boyfriend goes right and hurt to be okay see you later grab before and she goes, I had a doctor who was 80th told the story just what you see and things will I don't know but I conveyed a tournament delighted to kill miss my mind up a little bit to brutal. She sends a shrink in a talk to me and his rabbis Jewish to start the engine was laughing and goes, I believe you will find will also talk about what he means is pay me for now Ceballos Yankees West Bank again. So for seven days stubborn through my body work here and was hard going through and it was even harder. My wife, my kids come here man and I'm lucky and when we return will continue with the story of Nils Jorgensen dear on our 911 special on our American story and were back with our American stories and our 911 special and with firefighters Nils Jorgensen story.

Nils contracted the rarest form of leukemia is worked at Ground Zero after the events of 9/11. Thankfully he went into remission and Nils was more than thankful. He noted that the late Coke industries leader David Cook given hundreds of millions of dollars. The cancer research in New York City hospitals today. Nils partially credits David for being alive. And so Nils well wanted to show his gratitude. Let's continue with the story well the problem is today in the world. No one is quite dear is no playfulness, just just gone and I was the main emphasis of my letter. All I wanted to do with that letter was to say except thank you.

This is somebody you've helped you have no idea who I am no idea what my life's about, but I want you to know you've blessed my life and that was the only reason I did. I was sitting there one day and I was I was feeling thankful for everything and I saw them hammering him on TV over some political nonsense and I agree with everything the man said of data stood for what they were blistering. This guy over something so minute and it upset me so much like the realized good that this man has gone and and II just signaled what I want him to know that there's people out there that do appreciate and that was the main reason why I sat down at that very moment, and in my best grammar school penmanship because I'm not a computer guy and I'm technologically horrible and I probably would've sent an email to I don't know Australia. Somehow, whatever wouldn't gotten there so I should really write an old-school letter and let me look up the address where they are headquartered and let me send it in the hopes that he gets it and a couple weeks later I was like I guess mediating and that's okay with him on anything nothing from. I wanted to just say thank you and I got a call from Christine Nichols from my guests is public relations folks. I was blown away and I was like wow you know what this man knows that I'm grateful. And that meant everything was the Coke invited me to the dedication of his new Cancer wing Sloan-Kettering sit near mystical came up with his wife such a system is him something to meeting you today was the Coke and expect the free will in turn can like that But just when you get a chance, shake hands and thank you.

I said you know this very well as a fellow survivor. If it wasn't for research wasn't for people cavorting out life to the cause of cancer, we wouldn't be here smile the nieces so right and he just said thanks for the acknowledgment message mystical. Thank you sir, it's my honor and we parted ways and you know I said hopefully I'll see you when the buildings completed for get around to it and that was my last interaction with them, but it was wonderful.

I took my kids to the museum in New York a couple weeks ago to look at the David Coke wing that I'm going to let God strike this guy helped everybody. They would walk somewhere else I forgot we were in the city. A nice walk past Metropolitan Opera to get to our car look up news is going there and see what this guy did a lot of good for the city and yeah just a gentleman just it just seemed to me humble, unassuming gentleman.

I walked Waco.

I can't believe this guys like this huge business titanate just just come off that way now is expecting a swaggering almost John Wayne die will ship and maybe you'll a second to put out his hand and say how you doing and keep on going, but he stood there for a good few minutes and just chatted and it was really nice is great memory.

I have really great memory of an I'm sure some of my union brother and you know these big business and where not Obama. Hey listen I don't know the last prounion guy who is dedicated hundreds of millions of dollars to cancer research or other philanthropy causes that help people. So I told sticky. See that's the problem and in you know everyone gets a trophy now is if your trophies bigger or you have more trophies people upset with like wait a minute back when I was a kid. You know your work. You know I studied for four years to become a fire Lieut. to get a $20,000 year race. I see that my son my son is 19 and is actually training to be a pilot.

He's not sure he's in limbo doesn't know what to do solemnly explain something to us here in America. I said no one can tell you know, must God forbid you have a huge disability or whatnot, and even then you could probably still do it. I said don't tell your mother with talking like this because my wife is no cursed policies will have to be really guarded.

She's tough and very scared arch is 5 foot two and she's she's the drill sergeant around here but the best I sent some no one owes you, and no one told me I should guess what I did last year, slipping off my house at the 25 years paid off not because just arrange special with paid off. I should have bought about 24 years old. I got the quickest down payment I could scrape together. My father said it the minute you can buy a house you buy a house and I did it was many many months.

Once my wife stopped working and baby start, I want that this is a mistake.

Should kid just keep you going. Don't worry about it. You will be paid off. I sit at my son sit, guess what you do same thing I says, but no one can give to help you along. If I can pay for his flying lessons because it's not cheap and I says but I want you to put to good use like that. I will I will and that's the problem. Everybody feels like someone owes them so no one owes me nothing, I say to people they rip me off my pension my passion and say listen, I said I know pensions are tricky subject supply did a lot of dangerous crazy dirty for my pension and I said if it so much money, why am I still out there working with active cancer.

Thank God would send me a whatever I said why would I be out there working as a stagehand if I made so much my sit so thank you. I'm grateful for my pension plan. Every penny of it and and I said the beautiful thing is everything I owned. I worked for and that is so hard to instill in people and that's why no Mr. Coke and his brother was so widely successful because somebody instilled that the lack of fathers and I understand sometimes divorce and sometimes death. It happens.

But to be brought into the world and from day one. Never have someone looking after you. That's heartbreaking and unfortunately it's omnipresent in today society and I don't care what race it everywhere. Unfortunately January 2012. My career was ended. I was retired off the department radically because certain cancers are not allowed to return flight duty and that to me sounds pathetic, but that was probably the worst day of my life.

One of them because I lost what I did. I lost my priesthood lost the environment and helping people in the weirdest things that only set me straight after I got cancer. I was really down about losing a job, wife said to me control you can handle nothing five.

She was listen this second chance at life's kids got me supposed you could have to get past Monica McDonough and clean the plate my kid is the second and my politicals best things about daddy cancer was my son goes homeless for dental last of the plate and put it in the dishwasher, cry. It's okay come alive watching my children grow. Thank God, my eldest daughter Emily is 22 actually was inspired by my nursing care Methodist Hospital in New York spent a month she was inspired to become a nurse and she started her nursing career next week just been hired as an emergency room nurse and so very proud hard. Hopefully that's the silver lining of cancer someone now going out to the world to help make a difference. What a beautiful story. Great job as always by Alex Cortez on that piece and a special thanks to Nils Jorgensen for sharing the full depth and breadth of his story because 9/11 was in a better day indeed.

Today still the reunions there are blessings. There is gratitude and always there is loss and there's grief in my goodness in the area, New Jersey. I grew up in parts of Staten Island that I ate and played in particular in Queens. Breezy point, which is where so many firefighters live retire and gather together and to this day.

9/11 and my family around that New York tri-state region is just it's not just today. If you have a chance whenever you do go to New York City and see what remarkable things the architects and the folks there have done to commemorate that day Museum spectacular.

Every American should go to that like they should go to the Smithsonian in Washington DC trying to the Lewis and Clark Trail. The story of 9/11 Nils Jorgensen story here on our American story

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