[nagdu] STORY OF SURVIVAL: 9/11 survivor offers inspiration for Iowa blind
stevencjohnson at centurytel.net
Tue Sep 21 11:13:07 UTC 2010
Ginger, thanks for sharing. Michael is a great guy, and pretty funny, no,
really funny too! I really enjoyed sitting at the table with him at the
Wisconsin NFB State Convention this past spring, and was very moved by his
personal occurrances of September 11, 2001. I don't think I have ever heard
silence like that before.
From: nagdu-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nagdu-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf
Of Ginger Kutsch
Sent: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 5:53 AM
To: 'NAGDU Mailing List, the National Association of Guide Dog Users'
Subject: [nagdu] STORY OF SURVIVAL: 9/11 survivor offers inspiration for
STORY OF SURVIVAL: 9/11 survivor offers inspiration for Iowa blind Staff
8:54 AM CDT, September 20, 2010
Michael Hingson has been blind since birth. But with his guide dog at his
side, he managed to escape the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001
and help others do the same.
On the morning of the attack, Hingson was busy preparing for a big meeting
with his sales team. There was a muffled explosion and suddenly his office
was in motion.
"The building tipped and tipped and tipped. We literally moved about 20
feet," he said, speaking before the Iowa Department for the Blind Friday.
The panic among his associates was immediate. He and his associate, David,
said good-bye. "We thought we were going to take a 78 floor plunge," he
Hingson felt for his guide dog, Roselle, and realized her tail wagging. In
that instant, he says he knew there was a chance to escape. He directed his
staff to head for the stairs to begin the
78 floor decent.
No one knew yet just what had happened 18 floors up.
Surprisingly, Hingson says his biggest fear was a power failure and the
chaos that could ensue with everyone else in the dark. He tried
light-heartedly to prepare people for the possibility.
"I finally said to people, 'I don't want anyone to worry. Roselle and I are
here and if the power and lights go out, we're offering a half-price special
to get you out today only,'" he said.
It took a full hour to get outside. David and Roselle made it several blocks
before the tower came down.
"We heard this rumble that literally within half a second became this
deafening roar," he said.
Through the thick cloud of dust, Roselle found a set of stairs and led them
to safety in the subway.
Since then Hingson has left his job to speak around the world about his
experience. Still he says it's often his former career that prompts the most
"They still have a hard time fathoming the concept that a blind person could
be a regional sales manager for a multi billion dollar fortune five hundred
company," he said. "The reality is blindness isn't the handicap it's our
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