SAN LEANDRO, Calif. (AP) _ New York Police Sgt. Michael Curtin was a hero long before Sept. 11 to Rudy Guzman, and now the San Leandro man says he wants to pay his respects to the family of the man who helped him during another national nightmare.
Guzman was scheduled to be in New York on Friday as part of a Red Cross effort to bring the families of those killed in the Oklahoma City bombing together for counseling with the families of those who died in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Guzman's brother, Randy, was a Marine Corps captain working on the sixth floor of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City when Timothy McVeigh blew it up on April 19, 1995. Randy Guzman's body was buried for days before Curtin discovered it and pulled it out of the rubble.
Curtin, a member of NYPD's Emergency Services Unit, was doing the same job in New York last month after two hijacked airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center _ he was last seen carrying a woman from the North Tower.
``There's another reason I want to be there _ for Michael Curtin and what he did in helping to recover Randy's body for our family,'' Guzman told the San Francisco Chronicle. ``I'd like to meet his wife if I can and give her a hug.''
Guzman's mother, Erlinda Guzman, met in 1996 with Curtin, New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and two other police officers who helped dig her son out of the debris. A picture of their meeting hangs prominently in her San Leandro home.
Rudy Guzman also met Curtin at an Oklahoma restaurant following the recovery. He said he still has the Oklahoma City rescue sweatshirt Curtin gave to him.
Now, Guzman said it's his turn to help others. He will be in New York for eight days sharing his experience and offering advice on how to go on living.
``I want to tell them it's been six years, and I'm still here,'' Guzman said. ``I have had some rough times, but I'm OK. If I can just help one person, I'll be happy.''