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Sister Of Mainer Who Worked In World Trade Center On 9/11 Wanted To 'Turn Tragedy Into Something Positive'

Courtesy of Steve Ward's family
Stephen Gordon Ward's name engraved on the 9/11 Memorial in New York City.

20 years ago, on September 11, Gorham-native Steve Ward was excited to have taken a new job in New York City. He was working as a CPA on the 101st floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center, when the first plane, American Airlines Flight 11, struck the building. Ward and all 657 of his colleagues at the Cantor Fitzgerald investment firm were killed that day. To honor Ward, his family created a scholarship fund and road race in his name. His sister, Susan Moore explains why.

Susan Moore: Steve was a big personality. He was a he was a fun guy. He liked to be the life of the party, big smile, big, sparkly blue eyes. He just - everybody liked him. He had just finished his graduate degree and passed all his CPA exams, and had spent that summer sending out resumes and sort of trying to figure out what the next step would be. And was really excited to go to New York. And it was so new, he hadn't even found an apartment yet. And he had just arrived there. My mother knew that he worked in the World Trade Center, I just knew that he was in New York, she knew that he was in the World Trade Center, because he had, there had been some joke between them about, you know, being on top of the world, he was on the 101st floor.

Steve Ward

We established the scholarship fund very early, shortly after he passed. The road race came out of a desire to fund the scholarship fund. It just seemed like a good way to get everybody outside and to be running and breathing and enjoying the fresh air. So we really wanted to turn that tragedy into something positive.

I really didn't want them to win. I just really didn't want them to win to just have it be this horrible, tragic thing all the time. I just wanted something good to come out of it. At the time, I was very angry. You know, nobody wanted to fly back then. And I almost very defiantly wanted to fly, not let you control our levels of fear.

At the time, I absolutely approved of how the United States responded. I think you can't just have a state that sponsors terrorism and not do anything about it. I remember when bin Laden died, and reporters started calling and asking, 'does it give you closure?' Doesn't. You can't give me my brother back. Justice is good, but it's a small comfort. I don't know that my feelings have changed. They are less overwhelming. They're they're not right at the surface every minute of every day the way they were 20 years ago.

To register for the 911 Memorial 5K in Gorham or to make a donation to the Stephen G. Ward Memorial Scholarship Fund, click here.