David's Story | Submitted by David Kopecky

David Kopecky
March 8, 2010
VOICES, New Brunswick, NJ

On the morning of September 11, 2001, David planned on going fishing with his friend but once they arrived, they were told that the harbor was closed.  They stood there that morning and witnessed the attacks upon the World Trade Center, eventually seeing from across the harbor the Twin Towers falling.  Soon after, David and his friend returned home to watch the rest of the day’s events unfold on his television.

The following morning, David went out to the Jacob Javits Center to volunteer where ever they might needed help but he was turned away at that time.  David had prior experience towing cars for the New Brunswick Police Department and was familiar with dismantling, burning and setting metal – particularly in car accidents.  He went around to the Red Cross and Fema, asking if they needed his help but both rejected his services at the time.  He then went to the Salvation Army and started volunteering with them immediately, setting up camp, giving out supplies and distributing food and drinks.  He stated he felt an obligation to “[be] a servant for everyone.”  During his time volunteering down at Ground Zero, he crossed paths and befriended with many other volunteers.  Across from the Salvation Army site were security guards from FEMA whom he would often bring over trays of sandwiches and water.  He then began volunteering for FEMA, helping out with security around the perimeter of the site.  He said that he often kept busy to keep his mind off of what was going on. 

Dealing with his mother’s recent hospitalization, David would divide his time between his family and his country.  He felt a personal connection and obligation to act upon his national pride, inspiring him to volunteer where and when he could immediately after the attacks. 

The first time David went down to Ground Zero was during the evening where he described the site as a scene from the movie, Indiana Jones, feeling and looking like a movie set.  People often asked him if he ever saw anyone, he would reply, “they’re all around me… I’m breathing them in.”  David volunteered for about three months and up until this day, still thinks about his experience down at Ground Zero and September 11th frequently.  Over the years, David has gone back to Ground Zero to visit and remember.