Ground Zero Leaves Lasting Memories For Tulsa Volunteer


Monday, September 12th 2011, 4:43 pm
By: News On 6


Emily Baucum, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- While the tenth anniversary of 9/11 has come and gone, thousands of people will be dealing with painful memories for decades to come.

One Tulsa woman spent nearly a month at Ground Zero volunteering for the Red Cross. Ten years later, she's still fighting the emotional and physical scars left behind.

"I knew there was devastation. I knew it was going to be hard. I didn't realize how much devastation," said Dannette McIntosh.

Most of our memories come from television. Ground Zero volunteer McIntosh's memories were gathered first hand.

"I kept thinking I'd organize this," she said.

Dannette McIntosh has a box stuffed with pictures, papers.

"This book was just my diary," she said.

Plus ID cards, a helmet - each with a story from the rubble of Ground Zero.

"The first man I worked with was an Indian from Oklahoma. He'd been there all day, digging," McIntosh said.

9/11/2011 Related Story: A Look Back At Oklahoma's Response To 9/11

"People found body parts of their friends and came off hysterical. So we held them, and we worked with them. I worried about the children who looked out the windows and heard the stories and saw people jumping," she said.

The memories are as overflowing as her binder of mementos. Ten years later, she doesn't need to look at a calendar.

"Every year is difficult for me, even more because my birthday is on the 10th of September," McIntosh said.

Even if she could forget the pain and suffering, she has a nagging cough - the one associated with the dust and smoke at Ground Zero.

"It would be in your hair, in your eyes - your nose was black. My mouth was black," she said. "By the time we got the masks it was four of five days later."

The mask didn't help - her voice is now different.

"More gravelly than it was. It's deeper than it was. I cough all the time for no reason," McIntosh said.

She has also noticed a change within herself -- small things, like these keepsakes, from one extraordinary experience.

"I think you become more reflective. And I think you think more about how you live life and what's important to life," she said.

McIntosh believes every one of us should volunteer in a disaster zone because it makes you more appreciative for what you have. Despite the lasting effects 9/11 left on her health, McIntosh says she'd do it all again tomorrow.