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Raleigh man and 9/11 ‘hero’ displays on how assaults formed his life

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) — The 9/11 terror assaults thrust Cary native John Cerqueira into the nationwide highlight after he helped carry a girl in a wheelchair down 68 flights of stairs within the north tower of the World Commerce Middle.

On the 20th anniversary of the assaults, Cerqueira mirrored on the occasion that modified the course of his life and helped him reevaluate his priorities.

“I cared, a lot much less about monetary rewards or skilled success and standing than I did relationships and that grew to become actually my focus, relationships,” Cerqueira advised ABC11’s Steve Daniels in an interview.

Cerqueira was 22 years outdated and a current NC State College graduate dwelling in New York Metropolis in 2001.

The nation hailed him a hero for serving to carry Tina Hansen to security on 9/11.

He appeared in Individuals journal and on the Oprah present.

“Going by means of all of these totally different interviews was a extremely good alternative to only flesh out what I assumed and what I felt,” Cerqueira mentioned. “It began serving to me course of, the place I slot in the entire expertise as much less of a sufferer and even psychologically, any individual who was much less susceptible to survivor’s guilt.”

The fear assaults prompted introspection and produced classes that Cerqueira makes use of now to information his life.

“The chance afforded to us to deal with any individual else’s well-being, was liberating, and it truly was calming and made us extra highly effective, and it actually began this realization for me that we’re most fulfilled after we serve different individuals,” he mentioned.

Cerqueira lives in Raleigh together with his spouse, Melissa, and their 9-year-old daughter, Hannah Grace.

He defined how his private journey after 9/11 now helps information different individuals in his work at a gross sales coaching and administration teaching agency.

“Once you cease specializing in what you get, your issues, your wins, it is truly a chance to be slightly extra free and extra fulfilled,” he mentioned. “It is a guiding message that I take advantage of every day to reorient me once I’m feeling slightly off-kilter.”

FULL SPECIAL: Remembering 9/11 Twenty Years Later

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