Officer, 9/11 survivor, retires
Fri., Dec. 3, 2004
NEW YORK – A Port Authority rookie detective who was among the last people pulled out alive from the rubble of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, retired from the force. “I was just a cop doing my job,” he said during an emotional farewell Thursday.
Will Jimeno, 37, graduated from police academy and joined the Port Authority force in January 2001 in a ceremony at the trade center, where eight months later he nearly died.
With the collapsed ruins of Tower One around him, his left leg and foot crushed, Jimeno made his peace with God and thought mostly about the unborn second child he thought he would not live to see. After 13 hours buried under 20 feet of rubble, Jimeno was pulled free.
“I am no different than anyone else,” Jimeno said during a farewell ceremony at the Port Authority bus terminal that included a bagpipe-and-drum band.
Jimeno lost his composure only once during the ceremony – when he thanked retired Port Authority police Sgt. John McLoughlin, who was trapped even longer that day, for 22 hours.
Buried alive together, the two men talked, encouraging each other to survive.
Jimeno looked at McLoughlin, who was dressed in a blazer and tie and still walks with a hobble, and said: “If I had it to do over again, I’d do it over again with you.”
Jimeno, who still undergoes rehabilitation and is often in pain, said he is not certain what he will do in retirement, but that he would like to work with law enforcement, perhaps helping other officers who have been injured on duty.
“I’m going to miss the job,” he said. “But it’s not the job you miss so much as the family. You guys in blue.”
Speakers at the ceremony recalled the 37 fallen Port Authority police officers – “immortal heroes,” in the words of a chaplain’s prayer – who were among the 2,749 people who died at the trade center.
“Know this – that you will always be a member of this police department,” Port Authority Chief of Department Christopher Trucillo said. “You’re one of us, and we’ll never completely let you go.”
In attendance were other Port Authority officials, Jimeno’s parents, wife and two daughters – including Olivia, who was born Nov. 26, 2001.
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