9/11 Rescue And Recovery Workers Featured On MetroCards Reflect On Time At Ground Zero

May 15, 2019 - 7:52 am
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) The MTA is rolling out commemorative MetroCards featuring some of the workers who went through the debris at Ground Zero in the days after 9/11 Wednesday.

A memorial to those workers is set to open later this month.

Lt. Mark Bogush was one of those workers.

The first thing he remembers that day is seeing a column of smoke where the Twin Towers used to be, "And the whole bus was just absolutely silent. It was a solemn moment that I will never ever forget."

He and his K9 partner Marley spent a week searching Ground Zero.

"Our objective was to try and locate any live victims," he says.

He says they were given respirators, but "When wearing a respirator the dog can't hear the command. Many times those respirators had to come off."

Air quality, he said, wasn’t much of a concern when there was a chance of saving someone’s life at any moment.

He added, "It was unbelievable to see how people in New York City pulled together."

Bogush, who works for the Tampa, Florida fire department currently says he got choked up when he heard the news, and saw the photo of him and Marley.

He described the scene, "with everybody looking tired, wore out, mud all over everything. It just tells the story."

Honored to be featured on a batch of new MetroCards, he said we "Need to remember all of those people that we lost that day. And all those people that we continue to lose today."

Chief Mike Nugent, who works in Broward County, Florida, was another honoree chosen for his one week spent in New York after 9/11, searching for bodies.

He'll never forget his time in New York he says, "Hundreds of people lined up on the roadways holding up pictures, 'Please help me find my dad, brother, mother, cousin.'"

It was his job to help in that search. It was a personal one, given that he knew several firefighters who had been lost. 

"We didn't want somebody to have a funeral with no person in the casket," said Nugent.

 He learned very suddenly two years ago about a heart condition that can likely be traced back to his time at Ground Zero. 

"Coming home from work at 65 miles an hour, my heart stopped, I hit a concrete median," said Nugent. But even knowing that he says, "If it happened this afternoon, I'd be the first one to want to go out the door again."

The MetroCards are available at 10 subway stations, mostly in the area of the World Trade Center site. They are being released ahead of the May 30 opening of the 9/11 Memorial Glade which pays tribute to rescue and recovery workers.