Entries in Heroes (2)


9/11, Remembrance and Renewal: 'Reluctant Hero' Shares Story

Thinkstock/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Many people were called heroes on 9/11, and Michael Benfante is no exception.

On Sept. 11, 2001, Benfante was at work on the 81st floor of Tower One at New York City's World Trade Center when a plane struck the skyscraper just a few floors above him.

"You saw an explosion in the Twin Towers," he recalls.  "When the plane hit there was a lot of confusion and a lot of fear.  You were as high as anybody who managed to get out safely."

On his way down the stairs, Benfante encountered a woman in a wheelchair who needed assistance.

"I just said, 'Do you need help?' and she said, 'Yes,'" he says.

So he and a colleague picked up Tina Hansen and carried her down 68 flights.

"I just kept thinking I want to get out of here, I want to get Tina out of here, this woman and I want to go home," Benfante says.

It took more than an hour to escape, and they did so just in time -- minutes later the North Tower collapsed.

Benfante was interviewed that tragic day, covered in dust, and was called a hero.

"You'd like to think that I carried her out, I survived, got married and storybook ending -- live the rest of your life in bliss -- but trauma changes you," he says.

Guilt and pain overwhelmed him, as he writes about in Reluctant Hero, a book that urges us to remember what Benfante learned on 9/11: "Help someone that can't help themselves."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Woman Wrestled Fresh Ammo Clip from Tucson Shooter as He Tried to Reload

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- Patricia Maisch looks like a grandmother, but she is being hailed as a hero for helping to stop alleged Tucson shooter Jared Loughner by wrestling away a fresh magazine of bullets as he tried to reload.

Maisch, 61, effectively disarmed the shooter as several men pounced on him and threw him to ground. As they struggled to hold him down, Maisch joined the scrum on the ground, clinging to the gunman's ankles.

Maisch and her fellow heroes -- identified as Bill Badger, Roger Sulzgeber and Joseph Zimudie -- stopped the carnage after 20 people were shot, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Six people died.

"[I] knew right away it was a gun... I heard a continuation of shots," Maisch told a news conference Sunday.
Maisch, who has a crown of snow-white hair, was standing towards the back of the line to greet and snap a photo with Giffords at the "Congress in Your Corner" event at a Safeway grocery store.

Speaking to the press Sunday, Maisch recalled how she stopped Loughner as he tried to reload his Glock 9 mm weapon.

"I could see him coming. [He] shot the lady next to me," Maisch said.

As he was shooting, she said, she was expecting to be hit and she wondered what it would feel like.

There was "lots of blood and confusion," she said.

She considered trying to run away, she said, but thought that would make her more of a target, so she laid down on the ground. But then something unexpected happened.

"Then he was next to me on the ground," she said. "The gentleman knocked him down. I kneeled over him. He was pulling a magazine [to reload] and I grabbed the magazine and secured that. I think the men got the gun, and I was able to get the magazine."

Maisch said Badger and Sulzgeber both sat on the gunman while she held his ankles down. Police said that Zimudie helped by hanging on to Loughner's legs.

Sulzgeber was reportedly standing with his wife, third in line to meet with Giffords, while Zimudie was in the nearby Walgreens and came running out once he heard the shooting.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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