Firefighter Who Found Business Card At Scene Felt George Morell’s Calm Spirit


‘He Did Not Suffer’

Firefighter Who Found Business Card

At Scene Felt George Morell’s Calm Spirit

George Morell, Cathy Raddatz’s brother, is memorialized on the 9/11 Memorial Museum’s portrait wall among the 2,996 victims. (Jim Kevlin/

Editor’s Note: Cathy Raddatz of Cooperstown, sister of 9/11 victim George Morell, read this letter of reassurance from a firefighter to Morell’s widow Robbie at the Fly Creek Volunteer Fire Company’s 5-10K commemorative run Saturday, Sept. 7.

Cathy Raddatz addresses the Fly Creek Fire Company’s 9/11 commemoration.

Dear Mrs. Morell:

First, let me say I know your family has suffered a devastating loss, you have my heartfelt condolences and prayers. While I cannot know your grief on a personal level. I sincerely offer my sympathy, compassion, love and respect.

I have been a firefighter for nine years now. I have seen what I thought was some of the worst things that any one human being could do to one another, until Sept. 11. I do not know the reason why I found your husband’s business card that Friday, Sept. 14.

Ever since that day I have felt I needed to find someone in Mr. Morell’s family to let them know how I found his card, where I found it and when I found it. To also let his family know that I felt an overwhelming presence and a calming feeling.

I knew this man did not suffer.

This is the only reason, I think, God put me there at that time and place.

These are the circumstances of how I found your husband’s card. When I was at Ground Zero, I was involved in the bucket brigade. I was at the front of this line when all of a sudden there was a hole just big enough for one person to fit in.

I took a flashlight and with the help of two New York firefighters holding my boots, they lowered me down. Everybody yelled to be quiet to see if I heard anything. The hole was 6- to 8-feet deep and about 20-feet wide under the opening. I did not hear or see anything.

But as I was coming out of the hole to my left I saw this piece of paper or what I thought was a piece of paper. I grabbed it just before it fell into the hole.

When I stood up. I was looking at what I had, a New York firefighter asked me if I knew what it was. I said no. (I had not seen the news or any television since I had been there.) He told me that it is the business card from a company that had lost several hundred employees.

He could not believe that in all this mess I found it, knowing it came from one of the top floors of the South Tower. I asked him if he wanted the card because he is a New York firefighter. He said, no, that we came this far – for me to just keep it.

I hope this letter does not cause any more grief than you and your family have already felt. I am very sorry for your loss. I hope and pray that I have done the right thing by returning what I felt was yours.



Monroe Township Fire Department

Monroe, Mich.

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