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Ella (far left) pictured with her family in 1992
By Ella Thompson, Kate’s Club Buddy and surviving daughter of a 9/11 victim
On a bright and sunny Tuesday in the early fall of 2001, my father went off to work on the 84th floor of the South Tower (2 World Trade Center) and didn’t come back. He was essentially in the impact zone, and very few people from his section of the tower made it out that day. He called my mother from his office, told her how much he loved her, and that he would see her later.
Like many families of those who perished that day, we traipsed up and down the ports adding our photos to the walls of the missing. We held a memorial in November of 2001 and, finally, a funeral in June 2002.
My father had survived the ’93 bombing, coming home covered in soot after carrying a pregnant woman down 90 flights of stairs. That’s the kind of guy he was. In the mornings he worked in NYC, ran his own carpet cleaning business in the afternoons, and volunteered as an EMT on the weekends. He was an incredibly charismatic and loving person, an amazing father, and was truly larger than life. But he wouldn’t be coming back.
Sometime in the first year after my dad’s death, a family friend sent my mother information about Comfort Zone Camp, an organization that helps kids cope with the losses of their parents, siblings, and caregivers. After several years as a camper, I volunteered for 7 years, and it was the most powerful thing I’ve ever had the opportunity to contribute to.
After moving to Atlanta, I really wanted to find a similar organization that I could join so that I could help more kids the way that so many amazing people helped me. And then someone suggested Kate’s Club. I’m honored to be included in it and honored to share my story here.
It is organizations like these that give children and teens an outlet for their feelings, a place to feel safe in sharing, and a way to connect with peers who understand them.