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Genelle Guzman

Genelle Guzman-McMillian was a Port Authority worker, on the job for only nine months, working on the 64th floor of one of the WTC towers, on September 11, 2001 when she felt the building shake and heard the noise of the first impact. A look out the window showed papers floating in the sky, but it was not clear what had happened until she saw news reports on a TV in a conference room.

Eventually she and the other remaining fourteen workers were evacuated, and began walking down those stairs, only encountering a single fireman on the way up. She had walked down to the 13th storey level stairs with her circle of co-workers and paused to remove her 4-inch high heels, when the building collapsed, pinning and trapping her for 27 hours under concrete, steel and dead bodies.

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McMillan’s head was pinned between two pieces of concrete, her legs sandwiched by pieces of a stairway. Her toes had gone numb hours ago. Her right hand was pinned under her leg. Only her left hand was free.

For hours, she had reached upward with that free hand into the blackness and dust, pushing and twisting her fingers into the small spaces between steel and concrete.

She tried tapping. She tried calling out, but with the dust and inadequate amount of air, her voice was barely a whisper.

And so she waited. And while she waited, she had a long talk with her God.

The pain was excrusiating and one moment, Genelle said that she felt she just needed to talk to God.

“I said, please God. Just give me a second chance. I promise, I promise that I will do Your will God.”

“Show me that you’re listening,” she said. “Show me that you’re here.”

That’s when she felt a hand. It was a hand on her shoulder that said, “I’m right here. I’m not going to leave you.” Genelle said the person asked her name and…

Genelle Guzman, The Last Person Rescued on 9/11: Experienced Miracle After 27 Hours  was originally published on

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