For 27 hours, her body remained in the rubble, pinned down in a single position with just her left hand set loose, waiting for a miracle as the world came to terms with what is now one of the worst moments in American history.
This miracle would come later, but it would change the course of this Trinidadian-born woman’s life, as she was the last survivor of the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001’s memorable wreckage. Approximately 3,000 people were killed in the incident.
Genelle Guzman-McMillan feels that in order for her life to have been spared on that fateful day, she must live the rest of it with a higher purpose in mind, seeking the greater benefit of others.
On that awful day, Genelle heard a loud, dreadful bang from outside her workplace on the 64th floor of one of the two World Trade Center buildings. Her concerns began to take over as she was still unaware what had happened until she saw the news on the screen in one of the conference rooms.
They were swiftly told to evacuate the building, along with the other fourteen workers on the floor, and made their way down the long stairwell.
They had already arrived on the 13th floor from the 64th when she chose to bend down for a brief minute to pick up her 4-inch high heel, but that was when her worst nightmares came true.
The structure collapsed in on her and the others almost instantly, pinning and trapping her in what would be the longest wait of her life: 27 hours of waiting for a rescue, or what she best describes as a miracle.
Those hours evolved into depressing ones. They weren’t just long and terrifying for Genelle, who sat with her head pinned between two pieces of concrete and her legs sandwiched between pieces of a stairwell – they were also a spiritual moment for her.
Her toes had gone numb by a certain point, leaving her with only her left hand to do anything with. She fought to make her voice heard over the heavy dust, hoping that someone would notice. In those desperate cries for aid, her voice would only be whispers, as she described.
Genelle, however, recognized she could still communicate with one person, so she prayed to God. “Please, God, help me.” Please give me another chance. I swear to You, I swear to You, I swear to You, I swear to You, I swear to You, I swear to You, I She had to suffer all the painful anguish weighed on her entire body as weakness crippled her gradually while she communicated with God, unsure if He was listening or not.
At that point, all she wanted from God was a sign; a sign that He had heard her screams and was capable of saving her. That’s when she got her answer, but this saviour was on all fours: a dog. Although several humans were outfitted with special equipment to search for survivors in the rubble, more than 300 professionally trained search-and-rescue canines were deployed to Ground Zero in the days following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. One of the dogs tracked her down.
“It was pitch black outside, and everything was rumbling. That’s when I felt a hand on my shoulder. ‘I’ll be right here,’ murmured a hand on my shoulder. She told CBN.com, “I’m not going to abandon you.”
Guzman-McMillan told Animal Planet for the upcoming documentary “Hero Dogs of 9/11” that “it’s really fantastic that the dogs could have this sort of instinct, to find individuals buried under the wreckage.” “I felt like I had a fresh lease on life… That was the happiest moment of my life.”
Guzman-McMillan has lived to tell her experience, publishing Angel In The Wreckage, a book that chronicles her time under the rubble and everything that happened to her during those 27 hours.
“This tragedy served as a wake-up call for me since it converted me into a lot better, loving person, and I will be eternally glad to be a part of this new life. I begged for it, I implored God for it, I begged and pleaded with Him to give me that second opportunity, because I truly wanted to make that change, and I knew I would, and I did.”
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