Cabrini Spirit Award given to deceased EMT hero

By Laura Casamento
November 15, 2001

by Laura Casamento

guest writer

An emergency medical technician killed during the Sept. 11 attacks on New York’s World Trade Center was posthumously awarded the Cabrini Spirit Award at an all-day college seminar yesterday.

Marc Sullins, 30, a married father of two and EMT at the Cabrini Medical Center in New York City, was last seen on the ground floor of the complex’s second tower just before it collapsed.

‘Take care of one another out there.’ Marc would often end his shift as an EMT by saying these words to co-workers replacing him on duty,” said Myrna Grandgenett, executive director of the J. Eustace Wolfington Center for Service and Leadership, who presented Sullins, award to Robert Walsh, manager of hospital care services for the medical center.

“Marc will be always be remembered and defined by his great courage and selfless concern for others, which has granted him permanent hero status in the eyes of New York, the nation and the world. It is clear that Marc was already a hero for the many who had the privilege and pleasure to personally know him and those who were fortunate enough to be taken care of by him.”

The ceremony was part of what would normally be Cabrini Day on the campus of the 2,100-student college. This year, however, staff and students alike dedicated the day to remembering the attacks and moving on from Sept. 11.

“It has been eight weeks, two days and about four hours since the first plane hit the first tower,” professor of communication Cathy Yungmann told the standing-room-only crowd in the campus, Grace Hall. “Today, we’re looking forward.”

After the award ceremony, students heard attack-related presentations from an art teacher, a microbiologist, two political science experts and an eyewitness to the attacks.

“Everyone has their own New York City experience,” said Lisa Gryzbowski, a Cabrini Mission Corps volunteer who worked just five blocks from the World Trade Center and watched the tragedy unfold from the roof of her apartment building. “I never thought that these attacks and the collapse of the towers would be my experience, as well as the experience of nine million other people.”

Gryzbowski recalled raising a toast to the city’s famous skyline just days before the attacks.

“We gathered on the rooftop to pay tribute and raise Coronas to the skyline in all its nighttime glory,” she said. “But in a matter of hours, the city I loved changed forever.”

Later, art professor Dr. Lisa Learner-Wagner unveiled artwork related to the attacks done by students in her fine arts classes, and biology department chair Dr. Sherrie Fuller-Espie, a microbiologist, discussed anthrax and germ warfare.

“Don’t be scared. Be informed and be ready,” Fuller-Espie said. “It is critical for our first lines of defense ~ health officials, epidemiologists and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ~ to be ready.”

The program closed with a question-and-answer session hosted by political science professors Dr. Jolyon Girard and Dr. James Hedtke, who discussed issues related to the war on terrorism.

Girard struck down a suggestion that the government is encroaching on civil liberties by detaining suspected associates of the terrorists.

“I think there needs to be some restraint on civil liberties during times like these,” he said. “Compared to our recent history, our government is showing great concern for civil liberties. Not one U.S. citizen has been arrested. Congress hasn’t passed laws to inter people like World War II. There’s no Red Scare.”

Hedtke discussed suspected terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden’s recent condemnation of the United Nations for supporting airstrikes on Afghanistan.

“When bin Laden goes on television, he’s not just spreading propaganda. He’s giving orders to cells operating in the United States,” Hedtke said. “Bin Laden has a thing for New York City. The United Nations, its building and its mission are all being threatened.

“That’s a crucial mistake on his part.”

“It is clear that Marc was already a hero for the many who had the privilege and pleasure to personally know him and those who were fortunate enough to be taken care of by him.”

-Myrna Grandgenett

-Reprinted with permission of the Delaware County Daily Times

Laura Casamento graduated from Cabrini College in 2000.

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