Thursday, May 15, 2014

Teamster presence felt at 9/11 Memorial Museum

Teamster Local 282 member Manny Rodriguez donated his Teamsters jacket to the 9/11 Memorial Museum, the hard hat he wore at Ground Zero and a sculpture of the twin towers burned from World Trade Center steel. According to the museum, his donations were the first to document the important presence and contributions of Teamsters at the World Trade Center site.

Today the 9/11 museum was dedicated, and the Teamsters presence was still felt. The CBS News report this morning showed the Teamster logo stuck to the last column removed from the site in May 2002, along with tributes to the departed.

We also know, through Twitter, that a Teamster was present at the dedication ceremony when President Obama spoke.

Brother Ronald Parsell (@ronparsell), a retired Teamster official, tweeted:
@Teamsters>At 9/11 event they introed rescue & recovery wrkers & only ONE mentioned his Union.He gave his name fromTeamsters local 282..Nice
(We're working on finding out the Teamster brother who spoke.)

More than 1,200 Teamsters worked daily on the site to build One World Trade Center. Many Teamsters also worked on excavating the debris from the site.

The 9/11 Memorial Museum posted a nice tribute to Manny Rodriguez:
Soon after 9/11, U.S. Army veteran Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez resigned from his long-distance truck driver’s job to contribute his skills to the recovery operations at Ground Zero.  Determined to return to his home city, where he strongly felt he needed to be during that trying time, Rodriguez hitchhiked from Denver, arriving at the devastated World Trade Center site in late October.

As part of the recovery effort, he operated a “Euclid” earth-moving truck used for removing debris after it had been searched for any traces of victims. His work stayed in lockstep with the progressing recovery, starting at street level before moving down into the diminishing pile of wreckage known as the “pit.”

After grapplers filled Rodriguez’s Euclid with rebar, steel and other structural WTC remnants, he drove the load to street level, where uniformed personnel sorted the contents. At times, the debris pile would be sent for more refined analysis by forensic archeologists at Fresh Kills Landfill, a temporary sorting ground on Staten Island. Rodriguez worked at the World Trade Center until its cleanup operations were completed in May 2002. During that time he frequented the respite center staffed by volunteers at St. Paul’s Chapel, often eating and sleeping there.