Sunday, September 09, 2012
"They told me the last time they saw him he was going back up to help more people."
PROJECT 2996 (2006)
9/11 Tribute: Pablo Ortiz
Posted by: John H. @ 12:00 am
As part of the 2,996 Project it is my pleasure and honor to pay tribute to Pablo Ortiz, a true American hero. This man’s life has humbled and inspired me. I hope it does the same for you. Always remember, never forget 9/11.
Mr. Ortiz was a second-generation immigrant from Puerto Rico. He left his hardscrabble childhood in a tough section of New York for the Navy, becoming a Navy Seal and serving in Vietnam. Although suffering flashbacks for the rest of his life, Mr. Ortiz was proud of his service. Those who know him describe a conscientious man who demanded things be done right, especially from himself. These traits made him an outstanding Superintendant of Construction for the Port Authority of New York.
At least 50 people stuck on the 88th and 89th floors of the north tower were able to walk out of the building because Mr. De Martini, Mr. Ortiz and others tore away rubble, broke down doors and answered calls for help. Everyone above the 91st floor died.
In the most essential ways, these men, employees of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, pushed back the boundary line between life and death in favor of the living. Both Mr. De Martini and Mr. Ortiz, who continued to help other trapped people, died in the building.
Edna Ortiz remembers her husband as a very human man. ''I'm very proud of what he did.'' she says. ''But I wish he had come home.''
Mr Ortiz divorced five years ago (1998) after a 16-year marriage to Maureen Foo-Van Natten, a secretary for Community Hospice. Their two children, Justina 19 and 12-year-old JaShingiz (ages as of 2003), live with their mother in Schenectady.
The headstone has an etched cross and reads: "Pablo Ortiz. Father. Hero. Always in our hearts. 1/25/52 - 9/11/01."
Sources, please read them for full details: