PDT Staff Writer
Michael Hingson, the featured speaker at this year’s Red Cross Heroes Dinner in Portsmouth, was working early in the morning on Sept. 11, 2001 in his office at Tower 2 of the World Trade Center when airliners, piloted by terrorists, struck both towers, one of them just one floor above where he was working, with his guide dog Roselle at his side.
“The special thing about him is, he’s blind,” Mary Arnzen, executive director of the River Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross said. “So his service dog went into action at that time, and guided him and several others down the stairwell to safety. What makes his story extraordinary is that he has been blind since birth, and he has never let that stand in his way.”
Hingson, who worked as the manager for the New York/New Jersey office of Quantum Storage Solutions Group at the time, was in his office with colleague David Frank and several customers. The first priority was to get their guests to safety, and it was Frank who told him there was fire above them, just as Roselle sprung into action, leading them to safety. Hingson, author of “Thunder Dog,” now works for Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael, California, where Roselle came from. All proceeds from Hingson’s speaking engagements go to that agency.
The event is scheduled for Aug. 16, at 5:30 p.m. with the dinner and program beginning at 6 p.m., at the SOMC Friends Center in Portsmouth.
“The purpose of the annual Heroes Dinner is to celebrate people who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in our community and proven there are still a lot of good people in the world,” Arnzen said. “We will be handing out 15 awards.”
Arnzen said tickets are $15 each and are available by calling the Red Cross office at 740-354-3293; or by visiting their website at ohiorivervalley.redcross.org. Tickets must be purchased by Aug. 15.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at email@example.com