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Trapped in Rubble, Woman Finally Heard 'I Got You'

Genelle Guzman McMillan was the last person rescued from the World Trade Center
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2021 5:05 PM CDT
Trapped in Rubble, Woman Finally Heard 'I Got You'
Firefighters make their way through the rubble of the World Trade Center in New York on Sept. 11, 2001.   (AP Photo/Shawn Baldwin)

(Newser) – Twenty-seven hours after Tower 1 at the World Trade Center collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001, Genelle Guzman McMillan was about to give up. She was in pain, unable to move in the rubble and, with dust in her mouth and nose, unable to call out for help. "I knew I wasn't going to get out," she says. "I'm preparing myself to die." Then she heard someone say: "I got you. My name is Paul." He took her hand, and she held his. She remembers Paul telling her that she'd be fine. "I'm not going to let you go," he said. Guzman McMillan has looked for her rescuer for 20 years but not found him, People reports. "So we've come to the conclusion that Paul truly was my angel," she says.

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Guzman McMillan had moved to New York City from Trinidad two years before and loved her job as a temp for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on the tower's 64th floor. After the tower was hit, she and co-workers headed down stairs, reaching the 13th floor as the building fell. She no longer has nightmares but is still dealing with the loss of her co-workers and friends. Her husband, Roger McMillan, said, "She has that kind of like survivor's remorse—'Why did my coworkers die and I survived?'" Guzman McMillan, now 50, was the last person pulled alive from the rubble of the World Trade Center.

The couple married less than two months later and raised three children. "We appreciate each other knowing that there was a 99% chance I almost lost somebody that I fell in love with," McMillan says. His wife says 9/11 changed her "physically, mentally, spiritually" and bolstered her Christian faith, per ITV. The experience doesn't fade. "I live with it every day of my life," Guzman McMillan says. "I see the scars on my leg, my injuries, I see it, I live it, it is nothing I can get away from." But she said she doesn't want it any other way. "I wouldn't change it for who am I today," Guzman McMillan says, adding that "I was given a new life." There's one caveat: "I am blessed to be here but I wish my other workers were here as well." (Saturday was a day of tributes.)

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