9/11 Survivor Trapped for 13 Hours Shares His Story With Manhasset


Will Jimeno

Aidan O'Connor, Writer

Will Jimeno was buried for 13 hours under 20 feet of rubble at the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001. Just over 17 years later, he shared his story with Manhasset civilians at the Manhasset High School auditorium.  

As people listened to his story, Jimeno recalled the day that everything changed for him. Despite all the chaos at the scene, Jimeno said it would have been easy to get caught up in all of the disarray, but nevertheless ran in to try to help as many people as he could, remembering the oath that he took in order to be a Port Authority Officer.

Jimeno explained to the crowd that he was responding to South Tower when the building collapsed, and trapped him under 20 feet of rubble. In those 13 hours that he was stuck, Jimeno said he saw a vision of Jesus. He prayed to God and decided that, “If I was going to die, I was going to die trying.” Jimeno explained, “I said, ‘God, when I get to heaven, all I ask for is to somehow, some way, let me be there to see my little girl be born’.” That wish would soon be fulfilled as he was rescued many hours later by NYPD Emergency Service crews. He miraculously survived, and was able to see the birth of his daughter two months later.

Since the tragic day of 9/11, Jimeno has gone around the country sharing his story, becoming an inspiration to millions of people, sharing not only the horrors of the day, but his story of how “Love, Faith, and Hope” aided him in surviving.

The Manhasset Social Studies Honor Society organized the event, and were extremely happy to have guest speaker Will Jimeno at Manhasset. Alex Glick, the president of the Social Studies Honor Society, said, “We wanted to ensure the continuation of education on 9/11 as our school age population becomes too young to have been alive at the time. We got an incredibly moving speech about Will Jimeno’s struggle and the change in his life after 9/11. We cannot thank him enough for having enlightened us all with his perspective.”

Those who were at the event were in awe of Jimeno’s story, and were extremely happy that they went. Michael Raybetz, a Manhasset sophomore, said, “I liked the guest speaker Will Jimeno, as he had a great and inspiring story that he told. It made us all think back to that day and how we became united as a nation to fight evil.”

Manhasset mother of three Lisa O’Connor attended the event, and was inspired by Will Jimeno’s story. She said, “As one of the thousands of people fleeing NYC that morning, it was humbling to hear how he and other rescue workers ran towards what he said looked like Armageddon to help others. For someone who had every right to be bitter and angry, he chooses to remember the love and kindness he witnessed that day. Listening to him that night was something I’ll take with me forever.”

Overall, Manhasset civilians really enjoyed listening to Will Jimeno’s inspiring story and message of resilience, grit, determination, hope, faith, and love.