EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

CNHI Special Projects

August 25, 2011

Emergency responders share stories of survival, heroism

Thousands answered call during nation's tragedy

(Continued)

NEW YORK —

“We immediately started to set up an Incident Command Post at Public School 89, which is about ten blocks from the WTC,” says Revella. He did not return home for 17 days. “I served as the on-scene coordinator for the governor, to the city. While there, I provided assistance and instruction in getting backhoes, bulldozers … anything else that was needed to remove debris in hopes of rescuing survivors.”

Now living in Las Vegas, Revella is coordinating one of the largest 9/11 remembrance events in the West; 911 Remembrance Las Vegas, to be held Sept. 9 through 11, will include a heroes parade and race/walk, among other events. “Our event is going to show that unity and spirit of America we had on 9/11,” Revella says.

A National Effort

Debra Tosch and her canine partner, a black Labrador named Abby, were part of the second group of search-dog teams, arriving at ground zero about 11 days after the attacks.

“We would search when requested, and when not searching with Abby I would work with another handler and use one of the search cameras,” Tosch recalls. “We did not find anyone, but I feel confident that we did our job of making sure no one was left behind.”

Tosch went on to become executive director of the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation in Ojai, Calif. The experience of 9/11 helped her realize the importance of training.

“It has motivated me to have the Search Dog Foundation build a National Training Center ... handlers from all across the country can come train on deployment scenario props that are designed to prepare them for the most difficult deployments they may face,” Tosch says.

A 9/11 anniversary event is planned“to bring handlers and supporters of the Search Dog Foundation to the site of the National Training Center and unveil the beginning of the construction. Handlers perform a demonstration and a Canine Memorial Wall will be unveiled.  Tosch is hoping to open the training center Sept. 11, 2012.

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