20 years later, metro doctor recalls life lessons learned in rubble of Ground Zero

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Dr. Stephanee Evers only had two hours to pack for her deployment to Ground Zero in New York City, on September 11, 2001.

“We were on the road by about 4 p.m., the afternoon of 9/11,” Evers told FOX4. “So we rolled into New York City in the early morning hours of September 12.”

With special training in a FEMA urban search and rescue program, Evers found herself in the middle of history.

“Everything is just this mangled, twisted mess of pancaked buildings surrounding the two towers,” Evers said. “And the two towers themselves are just…disintegrated.”

Looking back, Evers believes her momentous experience in New York gave her a unique kind of preparation for the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think doing all of that, ironically, has made me more prepared and ready for Covid,” Evers said. “All of the PPE that we have to wear, all the precautions we have to take, to protect ourselves, I learned all that being at Ground Zero.”

Her two weeks in New York also prepared her for a career in emergency medicine.

“I have to, sometimes, in my daily work, I have to go in and explain that someone’s loved one has just died,” Evers explains. “Then, I’ve got to turn around and go back into a room where someone cut their finger off, and I have to switch gears and be able to do that within a few minutes time, and I think being at 9/11 taught me very well how to compartmentalize.”

With 20 years to reflect, Evers wishes more than anything that Americans will remember the uncommon unity and patriotism people felt in the first few days and weeks after the terror attacks.

“Now we’re in such a different time, where everything is so politically divided,” Evers said. “If people could just go back and try to feel that feeling again, that they felt after 9/11, then maybe, maybe we could get back on track again and they’ll be hope for us.”

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