Sunday, September 09, 2012

Gary Bird 1950-2001

REPOSTED: because I will never forget.

He was a corporate cowboy. Gary Bird worked in risk management, but his great joy was riding horses. He was practically born in the saddle. His mother was riding horses when she was eight months pregnant with him, until her doctor stopped her.

He lived in Tempe, Ariz., where he kept three quarter horses. He rode as often as he could, including multiday trail rides. His wife, Donna Killoughey Bird, and two children, Amanda, 15, and Andrew, 13, rode, too, but Mr. Bird was the avid one.

If he wasn't surrounded by open spaces, he would get edgy. In 1984, he was in New York for four days to attend a conference. By the fourth day, he told his wife, "I'm really claustrophobic here, because I can't see the horizon." As she put it, "It was a case of `don't fence me in.' "

Gary Bird moved to Tempe, AZ in 1973. He had a successful career in Risk Management, 12 yrs with Phelps Dodge Corp. Authored a book “TheWrap-Up Guide”, the authoritative work on the installation and operation of controlled insurance programs published by International Risk Management Institute (IRMI).

Mr. Bird was active in the community. He helped found the first Boys and Girls Club in Tempe in the early 1980’s. Served on the Tempe Planning and Zoning Commission and the Tempe Industrial and Development Board. He was active with the Friends of the Tempe Butte organization, helped plan and direct youth swim meets.

Gary Bird had just been promoted to Vice President at Marsh Inc, was on the 99th floor, Tower 2, WTC attending a meeting on his 2nd day as VP.

He is survived by his wife Donna, daughter Amanda, and son Andrew.

I guess to really honor him, we should go ride a horse.


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Pablo Ortiz 1/25/52 - 9/11/01

"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: