Many of you may not realize that my background includes almost 20 years of reporting on the disaster restoration industry — fires, floods, hurricanes and other catastrophes. As I covered the aftermath of several disasters starting with a fire in the St. Louis Arch to the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, I gained immense respect for all of those who respond in the wake of these catastrophes.

Covering the events of September 11th probably had the biggest impact on me. I interviewed people who just narrowly escaped the collapse of the World Trade Centers and others who lived and worked around Ground Zero.

I remember taking the subway from Mid-town to Battery Park and coming face-to-face with a tank and the National Guard troops who were on high alert. It was eerily unsettling. The charred remains of the World Trade Center buildings were still smoldering as I walked through businesses, churches and apartments that stood in the shadows of the collapsed structures.

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