Two families learn relatives in New York are safe following terrorist attacks
At least two families from Harrison and Crawford counties with relatives who worked in or near the World Trade Center were awaiting word from their loved ones yesterday in the wake of terrorist attacks on those buildings, but all were declared safe and sound near the end of the day.
Rusk and Shirley Roggenkamp of Milltown in Crawford County and other family gathered for news throughout the day at their home concerning the whereabouts of Janet Cooke Allen, Shirley’s sister who worked in the World Trade Center.
“She is out,” Shirley Roggenkamp said shortly before 4 p.m. yesterday, in a voice filled with relief. “She is in mid-town Manhattan, trying to catch a ferry (across the Hudson River) to her home in New Jersey.”
Shirley said her sister was on the 67th floor of the World Trade Center and was helped to safety from the terror-filled building by a fellow co-worker. “We don’t know too much about her condition, but she is out.”
Ironically, Janet Allen was also in the building when the terrorist car bomb exploded in 1993 in the parking garage of the World Trade Center.
Debbie Heazlitt of Corydon, whose daughter and son-in-law were both in close proximity to the World Trade Center, learned about 1 o’clock yesterday that the two were OK.
Hannegan Beardsley, 23, an actress and also the daughter of attorney Stephen Beardsley of New Albany, was filming at the base of the building and saw the first plane strike the building.
But because such scenes are sometimes staged in New York, she and others in the filming crew thought nothing about it and went into the subway to continue filming. Heazlitt said when they came back to the street, the buildings had collapsed.
“They were in the middle of the debris,” Heazlitt said.
They walked about 10 blocks to the producer’s apartment, where her daughter was able to call home.
“All transit was shut down,” Heazlitt said. “It was mass chaos.”
Her son-in-law, Jason Roseberry, 24, was working in a building adjacent to the trade center. “They felt the first plane hit and the employer didn’t allow them to leave the building,” Debbie said.
“When the second plane hit, they evacuated the building.”
A son, Eli Beardsley, 25, who is in Ecuador, called the family this morning after hearing a report on CNN about the attack on America.
Heazlitt said her son said all Americans were being evacuated because foreign governments fear ramifications.
He is returning home, she said.
Due to the nationwide call for blood donations, a scheduled bloodmobile visit to the Corydon Presbyterian Church yesterday was extended beyond the 7 p.m. closing. The donation site was packed by 2 p.m. with people waiting to give blood (see report front page).
The editor of this newspaper was also in New York when the attacks occurred.
Randy West and his wife, Diane, traveled to New York City last weekend and were staying in a hotel in downtown Manhattan (four or five miles north of the bombings) yesterday when tragedy struck about 8:45 a.m.
“The holocaust has just happened here, in one hour,” he said by telephone about 10:30 a.m. from his hotel room. “It’s terrible.
“This place has been shut down,” he said, as sirens could be heard outside the window. “They have paralyzed New York City.”
West said with 50,000 people working in the two buildings, a tremendous loss of life is expected.
“Tell people to pray for the families of people in the World Trade Center,” he said. “It has to be the most sickening thing.”
He and Diane were in New York to attend the Sunday night opening of her daughter’s one-woman show, “Homecoming.”
Lauren Weedman, a performer on the John Stewart Daily Comedy Show on cable TV, is scheduled to continue the performance weekly.
The Wests were scheduled to fly home today about 4 p.m., but those plans were on hold yesterday as airlines were shut down across the nation as a security and safety measure.
County officials call for calm
In the wake of the yesterday’s terrorist attacks, the Harrison County Board of Commissioners issued the following statement:
“We want to express our sincere regrets for the problems caused by the recent cowardly events in New York and Washington.
“Undoubtedly, we will have friends, family and neighbors affected by these tragedies.”
The commissioners, emergency management, state and local officials met to evaluate yesterday’s actions. “We are prepared to act accordingly to support the safety of the citizens of the county,” the officials said.
“All citizens are called upon to remain calm, support the country, cooperate with all public officials, and if possible, to donate blood.”
Those pleas were made by commissioners Terry L. Miller, John R. Eckart and James Goldman.
Post office suspends express mail
The U.S. Postal Service has suspended guaranteed overnight deliveries in the wake of yesterday’s terrorists attacks and the resulting shutdown of airlines.
Carmen Proffitt, postmaster of the Corydon Post Office, urged the public to stay tuned to the media for updates. An announcement will be made when guaranteed service is restored.