Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Disabled woman rescued from NY hotel on 9/11 dies

From the NY Daily News. In the picture, Greg Fredericks, Arnolfo Ponce, Leigh Gilmore (seated) and Faye Gilmore swap stories about 9/11 experience during a reunion in Chicago.

A disabled Chicago woman recently reunited with the two New York men who saved her life on 9/11 has died.

Leigh Gilmore died of complications related to multiple sclerosis Dec. 19.

She was 50.

Her death came less than two months after her touching reunion with hotel workers Gregory Frederick and Arnulfo Ponce.

They worked at the Marriott near Ground Zero where Gilmore and her mother Faye, 73, arrived Sept. 10, 2001.

The shower in their room was broken and Ponce, 49, came up to fix it.

Noting that the younger woman was in a wheelchair, he told Frederick to pay special attention to the pair.

The next day, when the planes hit the twin towers, he did just that - taking a freight elevator to the fifth floor to rescue the stranded women.

The two men lost track of the Gilmores and had no contact with them until October, when they were reunited after a television documentary about 9/11 survivors.

"You saved our lives," Leigh Gilmore said to Frederick when he walked into her Chicago apartment.

"I thought of you that day," Frederick told her. "Out of all the craziness, all the confusion, I thought of it. I just had a bad feeling."

"How you could have remembered, with everything going on - it was a miracle," she replied.