Remembering 9/11: Hawaii Red Cross volunteers mounted ‘huge response’ following attacks
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - After the 9/11 terror attacks, the American Red Cross sent hundreds of disaster relief workers to Ground Zero.
Masaru Oshiro was one of the Hawaii volunteers there. He supervised the mental health teams.
“My job was to make sure that all my outreach teams were in good shape emotionally. There were those that could not handle the impact of what they saw,” he said.
They counseled adults and children who lived in highrises surrounding the World Trade Center site. They saw the twin towers come down.
SPECIAL SECTION ― Remembering 9/11: 20 Years Later
“Some would be crying. Some would be looking for who to blame,” Oshiro said.
Glenn Lockwood was there for two and a half months, overseeing the support system for emergency workers who searched the rubble for signs of life.
“They would stay to the point that they dropped. That meant that we needed to find some way to provide a respite center for all of the workers,” he said.
He can’t remember crying as much as he did during that disaster.
“You think you’re OK and then you see a family and they’re inconsolable,” he said.
The Hawaii chapter sent 80 Red Cross personnel to New York. Some deployed more than once.
Maria Lutz was in charge of recruiting volunteers.
“They absolutely wanted to go and to give in any way they could,” she said. “We had a huge response.”
Lockwood was deputy director for the operation that oversaw the viewing station where victims’ relatives could look on what was left of the World Trade Center.
“Until they could see it they had a hard time comprehending why people couldn’t say that they could find their loved ones,” he said.
Hawaii’s Red Cross volunteers used what they learned in New York to improve crisis counseling for other emergencies.
“It was a sad but important learning experience,” Lockwood said.
“These are the towers, and these are the high-rises around Ground Zero,” Oshiro said.
He put together a book that reminds him of what he did at Ground Zero, and he has his field cap with the Red Cross patch on the front.
Embroidered on the back is an identifier he will never forget: WTC 9-11-01.
Copyright 2021 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.