The Warren police delivered the $17,000 donation.
By PEGGY SINKOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- City police Sgt. Joe O'Grady couldn't have known how he'd feel until he saw firsthand the damage caused by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"Angry," said O'Grady, as he reflected on his recent visit to New York City. "I just had this overwhelming sense of anger. I think all of us on the trip felt it. When you look at the damage, it's impossible not to get tears in your eyes."
O'Grady, his sister, Lt. Cathy Giovannone, Sgt. Bill Boldin, Patrolman Gary Riggins and 12 other members of the department went to ground zero last weekend to deliver a $17,000 check to the victims. The money was collected by the city police department to help family members of police officers who died during the attacks.
"We told the people in Warren that if they donated money we would make sure it got to the victims right away. So on our own time -- we were not working -- we went to New York City to deliver the money," O'Grady said. "We met with a representative of the New York Port Authority and gave him the check. We were told the money would go to victims right away."
Ground zero: O'Grady said after the check was handed over, the police officers were allowed to go to a special viewing station near the site where the World Trade Center towers stood. O'Grady noted that the public is not allowed close to ground zero.
"They have the area blocked off," O'Grady said. "Without a special pass you can't get closer than three blocks to the area and even when you are three blocks away, you can smell this horrible burning smell. I was amazed that the smell was still so strong two months after this happened."
The officers noted that all that was left of the skyscraper complex is a "huge pile of rubble."
"We all saw it on TV, but it's nothing like looking at it so close," O'Grady said. "It's just unbelievable. It's massive and everything near it -- all the buildings -- were still black."
Memorial patch: After viewing the site, the officers placed a Warren City police patch on a memorial wall near ground zero.
"There were about 100 other patches on that wall," O'Grady said. "We are all pretty shook up, and on Sunday we went to a memorial service in New Jersey for 37 police officers who died in the attacks."
O'Grady said several family members of victims attended the memorial service.
"I'm really glad I went," O'Grady said. "But the whole experience is very sad, and the only thing that seems to make me feel better is knowing that America is fighting back."