Miracle – Part III

Miracle Admist the Rubble – part 3 (continued from August 11th)

By Kristin Witt

The cloud of dust that had not completely settled from the South Tower was now growing at an enormous rate, as Jeff once again took shelter behind the building he now thought of as his safe harbor.  

     When the deafening roar lessened and the eerie silence of a graveyard overtook the streets Jeff Scarborough stepped out from behind the “shelter” building.  He was coated in several layers of gray dust, his breathing was shutting down from the oxygen deprived atmosphere and the particles of debris that he had actually pulled into his lungs, he was going into shock and he was utterly alone.  Nowhere to go and no idea how to get there, he looked up to discover yet another of the many unlikely miracles of the day.  The crew from his station that he had worked with enough times to think of them as family were suddenly there beside him and together they began the two hour trek to safety, plucking him from what might have been his own demise.

     It was two years before Jeff’s respiratory system cleared enough to call his breathing “normal” although he still struggles from time to time with a cough.  The day was physically debilitating enough that Jeff was not allowed to go down to Ground Zero in the aftermath, so NBC assigned him to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, covering the memorial services of the fallen firefighters, which were coming at three and four a day.  After a time, Jeff and his wife Alice decided it was enough and they moved to Conifer, Colorado, where they live today.

     At the heart of things Jeff wants readers to know that he is a musician, and he has moved on with his life.  He loves his music and the privilege he has of playing with some very talented people here in the mountains of Colorado.  The Scarborough’s found themselves embraced by the community, almost upon their arrival, and Jeff says that returning to his roots as a musician has gone a long way towards helping him heal.  

     We are honored to remember with Jeff and Alice Scarborough the horrific events of September 11, 2001, and grateful that they have chosen to share their story, especially as the Big Chili Cook-off approaches.  The Big Chili is all about thanking our mountain area Volunteer Firefighters, and this, the tenth anniversary of the event, happens to land on the tenth anniversary of the day our country was attacked by a terror we simply would never have believed.  In that attack, 343 firefighters lost their lives as they ran into the fray in hopes of saving others, and the Big Chili has the privilege of remembering them, and their sacrifice this September 11th.  When you join us at the Lake House on that Sunday you will enjoy Jeff’s band, the Bucktones, as well as Joe Bye and Friends who will be featured on our second stage at the entry gates.

     Jeff Scarborough graciously recounted for us the difficulty of that impossible day, and when he was done he showed us an award he received from NBC.  On it these words are inscribed.  

“In recognition of your bravery, judgment and leadership on September 11th, 2001.  

  Your actions helped save lives on a day that changed the lives of all Americans.”

“I’ve received much recognition for my work as a cameraman, including several Emmy Awards,” Jeff says solemnly, “but none of them hold a candle to this one.”


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