February 15, 2002 at 11:09 PM CST - Updated June 30 at 1:05 AM
The World Trade Center towers tumbling down September 11th is an image we'll never forget. F
or one woman, it's an image that happened right in front of her eyes and now, she's donating her time to help others.
Julie Williams had lived and worked in New York for four years when the attacks happened. Friday she was in the Heartland telling her story at a Red Cross blood drive to remind people that their donation can save lives.
Julie says, "As I was leaving the south tower, I saw the second plane approaching and I turned around, and I saw that jet hit my building." But Julie didn't run far, she turned around and went back inside. "I went to search for others to see if they made it out," Julie says. "When I went back to search for others, my building collapsed, and once again I ran." Julie was one of the lucky ones. She didn't get a scratch, at least physically. She was amazed at the immediate response to the tragedy. Julie says, "Ju st to see people going and giving blood, I think they had so many donors they couldn't take everyone. It just made me proud and honored to be an American."
Hundreds of people across the Heartland donated blood after the September 11th attacks, a generosity that's still going strong. It's that generosity that brought Julie to the blood drive at Three Rivers Community College in Poplar Bluff. But helping out isn't something that's new to Julie. Her older sister says it's a generosity she's had her entire life. Her sister, Dionne Thompson says, "S he is the type of individual that if she has five dollars in her pocket and she didn't have anything to eat, but you were hungry, she would give you that five dollars and still be happy." Julie says, "I have been spared for a reason, it's not to make more money, it's to help others. I 'm just so happy and blessed to be here."
Just a few months after the attacks, the company Julie worked for laid off several people, including Julie. Everything that has happened has inspired her to fulfill a lifelong dream of going into the Peace Corps. S he leaves in July.