Monday, September 11, 2006

Remembering Gregory Milanowycz

** 2996 site overwhelmed, here's a mirror site**

The 2996 Project is an effort by D. Challener Roe to help remember the 2,996 victims of 9/11 by having individual bloggers pay tribute to each victim. As a volunteer I was randomly assigned the memory of Gregory Milanowycz, lost in the South Tower of the World Trade Center. This post will remain on top through Monday night.
Gregory Milanowycz, 25, grandson of the late Joseph Milanowycz '49, was an insurance broker for Aon. As the disaster unfolded, he called his mother and later made contact with his father by cell phone. By that time he and about 30 co-workers lay trapped in the northeast corner of the burning building's 93rd floor.

His father had called the fire department and was relaying to him the dispatcher's instructions: Lie on the floor, wedge damp cloths under the doorways, refrain from talking to save oxygen. As the son repeated these orders to those around him, he started coughing a lot and asked if he should break a window to let out the smoke and heat.

Then came his final words: "Dad, I just want to let you know I love you and tell Mom I love her and tell Steve I love him." Steve was his twin brother. . . .
The New York Times ran a tribute to Greg in the 2001. Other tributes are located here and here. He was a 1998 graduate of St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia and worked for the Aon Corporation as a broker.

In researching Greg I realized we had one thing in common, perhap trivial, but a connection nonetheless:
..He was the household handyman, fixing plumbing and electric appliances, but his true love was golfing. "Whenever he had time, he would go to the golf courses and team up with whoever was there to play," Joseph Milanowycz said. "He could socialize with anyone. It doesn't matter whether you are a teenager, or middle-aged, or 102."
He'd been bitten by the golf bug, or as Twain called it, "a good walk spoiled". A game of frustration yes, but for many a pursuit that clears the mind and allows the troubles of the day to be temporarily forgotten. Golfers share a common bond and Greg evidently left a lasting impression with those with whom he played:
After his golfing friends learned that he was missing, a few dozen got in touch with his parents and donated $10,000. "These were friends we had never known," said his father, who has decided to donate the money to a New Jersey first aid squad.
But obviously there are stronger and more important bonds:
Joe Milanowycz drove his son Greg from their Cranford, N.J., home to Penn Station in Newark almost every workday for the past three years. From there, Joe went onto his job in Newark, and Greg took the train to the World Trade Center. The two talked during the 30-minute trip.

Greg, 25, told his father about the latest project he was working on as a cargo and marine account manager for insurer Aon Corp. He described how well he played a new golf course the previous weekend. He decided whether to eat dinner with his parents or visit his girlfriend. Maybe he decided to go out with his twin brother, Steven.

Joe, 52, misses those morning chats. "It's been very lonely," he said. "Although, in all honesty, I leave the house and say, 'Good morning, Greggy.' It's just something I have to do."
I can only offer my sympathy to his family, friends and co-workers, and to all 2,996 victims of that barbaric attack. I'd like to think these profiles might somehow change the hearts of those who erroneously believe that murder in the name of God can bring a person closer to God, even if it seems a tall order. But if nothing else they remind us not to take our time and relationships for granted. I'll treasure mine a little more after reading about Greg.


Debbie said...

We honor them all. I argued with myself whether I should contact the family by phone or letter befo...

A.C. McCloud said...

Same here. It would have been nice to get their blessing and input. All the information presented here about Mr. Milanowycz was via open sources. Hopefully family members or friends will not take offense at 2996. I felt honored to be able to say a few words about this man.

Adele Milanowycz said...

This is an amazing tribute to my son.
Thank you very much. I have no words to express my graditute.

Angela Lovisolo Rodebaugh said...

I am '98 St. Joe's alum and remember Greg fondly - especially that smile! I think you did an awesome job with this rememberance

Ashley Milanowycz said...

Im gregs cousins ashley milanowycz his father is my dads brother me,Greg,Steve & my little sister taylor had MANY goodtimes together that i could never always thinking about him everyday..Also i bring his picture with me everywhere it stays in my wallet so when you open it up hes write there..i couldnt ask for the 2 best cousins in the world Greg & Steve.. GREG we miss you so much your always in are hearts & minds everyday every second.we love you & miss you!

A.C. McCloud said...

I apologize that the comments on this thread got eliminated. I had issues with Haloscan back around Christmas and switched back to blogger comments, and it blew away all the previous Haloscan entries.

Anyway, most of the comments left on this blog (not to disparage the patrons) are about silly current events or politics and such, but not so on this thread. Therefore I transposed the comments from Haloscan into Blogger comments. To see what was in the old Haloscan comments (no guarantee it will work) click here

Drew said...

Wonderful Blog. I had the pleasure of knowing Greg and Steve and their family through Elementary and Junior High. Countless hours of baseball, football and whatever else we could do outside. It was a pleasure knowing him. An amazing family and Greg and his family are always in the Cranford faithful's hearts and minds no matter how far we travel.

Anonymous said...

I first heard Greg's story in my freshman year of college, and since then his memory has been permanently inked in my mind. I never had the privilege of meeting Greg, but as a fellow Hawk & Saint Joseph's University alum, I feel connected to Greg in that sense. I am honored & very grateful to be a recipient of Greg's memorial scholarship, & to have met Greg's wonderful parents. I think about Greg often, & I send my thoughts & prayers to his family & friends always.

D. Thomas said...

I met Greg when I was about 7yrs old during my 1st year of playing soccer in Cranford with both he and his brother Steve. He was a very pleasant and fun person to be around. I remember his mother and father both being wonderful people as well. This is just a brief reflection of my 1st encounter with this great person.

Never forgotten!

Anonymous said...

I only knew Greg for about six months prior to the 9/11/2001 attacks, but had played golf with him on at least eight occasions in that time (right up to the weekend prior to the attacks). He was a joy to know and with whom to play golf. We still hold a Gregory Milanowycz Memorial Tournament in his name every year as near to September 11 as possible, and have raised tens of thousands of dollars for the Scholarship Fund in Greg's name at St. Joseph's University. His memory certainly lives on and shines brightly among his golfing buddies, friends, and family!!!

Anonymous said...

I knew Greg and Steve growing up and I will always remember him and Steve trading sports cards especialy baseball cards every chance they had. Greg was always so happy and I will always remember his laugh and smile. I will never forget while delivering news papers to his street in the morning , the daily battle for the front seat of the car for the ride to school. I haven't talked to Greg since grade school but I miss him.