Orange Park church honors 9/11 first responder


ORANGE PARK, Fla. – An emergency responder from New York City who helped with the rescue during the World Trade Center collapse visited an Orange Park church Sunday.

Orlando Abreus attended services at the Watermark Church in Orange Park. Abreus was on a team of responders who went into the south tower as it began to collapse.

“Our sister agency that we run with responded on 9/11,” Abreus said. “I got a call that morning, and they told us it was a recall, and I thought it was a small plane that hit the tower. It’s happened once before, and I didn’t expect it, and my team responded that day -- myself and another individual, Lopez.  We responded to the southside tower.”

Abreus said he still works emergency services in the New York area. 

“I belong to emergency medical REACT 4942 from New York City,” Abreus said. “We’re a special EMS trauma team. We have special fly cards, and I also belong to a multiple volunteer ambulance agency.”

Abreus was just a guest at the Watermark Church service. He was introduced, but he spoke at the church five years ago on the tenth anniversary of 9/11. 

“The pastor and I have a very dear friendship. We both work. I worked at the Department of Defense for eight years and he was there with me. We were very good friends for a long time, and he shared one day that he became a pastor, (it) was very great,” Abreus said. “He asked me to speak five years ago, and that was the second time I spoke in public.”

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