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How Tillie Lives her Dash after Losing Father in 9/11

September 11, 2001, is a day people all over the world will never forget, but there are some whose lives were changed in a way others will never understand. For Tillie, she had no idea that she would never see her father again after that day. Being so young and losing a parent is never easy, and Tillie had a much different childhood experience because of it. 

Tillie’s father, Gary Geidel, was a firefighter at Rescue One. Tillie grew up admiring her father—she always saw him as the hero he was. She, her mother, and her father, always spent time together going on hikes, fishing, bird watching. They loved being outside. Tilly couldn’t imagine a better example of a role-model than her dad, who she called her Dado.

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A Life-Changing Day

The night before September 11, 2001, Gary decided to pick up a shift the next day. Only a few weeks from retirement, the family was getting ready to move to upstate New York. The next morning, Gary was running behind and got to work late, his fire truck leaving without him. To this day, the family still isn’t sure how Gary even got to the World Trade Center. He was never found. 

Tillie was only six years old when she said goodbye to her father for the very last time. She had no idea she would never see him again. She says, “I was traumatized by 9/11. I can still playback the whole day in my head.” This day haunted her and caused her to develop post traumatic stress disorder.

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Life Since the Tragedy

The tragedy of 9/11 caused Tillie to grow up much faster than other kids. She had to learn about things that most of her peers wouldn’t have to understand for a long time. She is grateful for each day, and for every day that her loved ones are here with her. Tillie mentions that she sees the world differently than most other people do, but she tries to remain positive. The attacks showed her that even though there is much evil in this world, there are many caring people.

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From experience, Tillie sees that everything in your life can change in the blink of an eye. She appreciates the little things in life. Now, 18 years later, Tillie is 24 years old and happily married. She continues to make the most of her life, understanding how precious it truly is. 

If Tillie could ask one thing of the people of this world, it’s this: “I think we need to be more compassionate towards each other. Show God’s love to one another.”

dash in loving memory

In loving memory of Gary Geidel, Firefighter at Rescue one, and of the other first responders and the thousands of people who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.

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