By Emily Drooby
Paul Veneto’s life is a miracle, a gift, and he’s using it to honor his lost friends.
Back on September 10, 2001, Paul was a crew member on United flight 175. After landing in Boston, he left the airport.
The next day, a new crew boarded that same plane, but they never made it to their destination. Instead, they were hijacked and the plane was flown into the Twin Towers.
Now, Paul is pushing a beverage cart over 200 miles, from Logan Airport in Boston, to Ground Zero in New York. He’s ending the trip on the 20th anniversary of the attack. It’s the path flight 175 took on that fateful day.
An emotional and physical fete, he’s relying on his Catholic faith and friendships to get through.
In the cart, there is a reminder of who he’s doing this for: photos of the crew members who lost their lives.
“I mean I loved working with these people,” Paulie said. “They were great people, they were just nice to be around.”
They were his colleagues, but also his friends.
“They were the first, first responders of 9/11,” he added. “They should have been recognized as American heroes, that’s the way I feel.”
He says after that day, he vowed to honor them but unfortunately the emotional toll of that day led him into a 15-year-battle with opiate addiction that almost killed him.
Now he’s six years sober and surrounded by family and friends. With that support, Paulie’s making good on that vow.
“As Americans we are supposed to recognize someone who stands up against terrorism,” he said, “and it bothered me that they never got that recognition. Because they left families behind.”