A former flight attendant who could have been onboard the hijacked United Airlines flight 175 on September 11th, 2001, is commemorating the 20th anniversary of the attacks with an unusual challenge. Paul “Paulie” Veneto will push a drinks cart from Boston Logan Airport to Ground Zero, NYC, raising money for crew members’ families and an addiction charity in the process.
A tribute to the 9/11 airline crews
This year will mark two decades since the tragic events of September 11th, 2001. To mark the occasion, Paul Veneto, aged 62, will be pushing an airline beverage cart weighing around 30kg from Boston Logan Airport to Ground Zero in New York, raising money as he goes.
The former United Airlines flight attendant will begin the 220-mile journey on August 21st and is planning to arrive at Ground Zero on September 11th. Based in Boston himself, ‘Paulie’ came close to being on board one of the aircraft affected by the terrorist attacks 20 years ago.
Veneto worked on United Airlines flight 175 on a regular basis. He had flown back to Boston the night before 9/11. The next day, seven of his colleagues departed Boston for New York on UA175. The flight was hijacked at around 08:45 that morning, with flight attendant Robert Fangman calling in the news that both pilots were dead and that a fellow attendant had been stabbed. The plane crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center just 15 minutes later.
In a statement, Paulie Veneto explained the reason for his mission, saying,
“I am doing this because I want these crew members’ families to know how courageous they were that day. I want the public to understand that under those conditions that morning, what those crew members did, nobody could have trained for. They really need to be recognized as Heroes. They were the very first First Responders.”
Paulie’s route will take him through Massachusetts and Connecticut before arriving in New York in September.
Supporting families and an addiction charity
Paulie is raising money with his cart push through donations he is receiving on his website. He money raised will be split between donations for the families of the flight crews who lost their lives in the attacks, and a non-profit organisation supporting people dealing with addiction called Power Forward.
The former flight attendant has battled with his own addictions, but has been sober for several years. He said,
“That day sent me into a tailspin of opiate addiction that almost cost me my life. After almost 15 years of numbing myself out from the thoughts of that day, I have finally been freed from addiction since 2015. I can now finally give tribute to my fallen crew members.”
September 11th will mark Paulie’s sixth anniversary of sobriety, making his arrival at Ground Zero a double achievement for this brave man. Find out more about his mission at Paulie’s Push.