More than 6 years before Sarah Palin visited ground zero as the Republican VP nominee, her parents were there as part of the response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks—trapping rats. Chuck and Sally Heath have been part-time Department of Agriculture wildlife specialists for 15 years, trapping or killing animals in Alaska. In January 2002, they went to New York for 2 weeks to make sure birds and rats did not disturb the World Trade Center debris in a Staten Island landfill.
Chuck Heath, 70, said that despite the grim task, he enjoyed spending time with the firefighters searching through the debris and hearing their stories of the attacks. Their only other assignment outside Alaska sent them to the rat-infested Palmyra Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. "We certainly didn't eradicate all of them, but certainly many thousands," Sally Heath, 67, said of their targets.