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ORLANDO, Fla. – JP Gomez is always on the go as a senior transporter at AdventHealth East Orlando, but 21 years ago he was on the go for a different reason. As an EMS medic for a private ambulance company, he helped rescue several children at a daycare center and others following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“It almost looks like scenes out of a movie,” Gomez said about the 89 photos he took while spending a week at ground zero searching for victims.
Gomez went into buildings multiple times to save more victims. He was in the stairwell when the second tower went down. He jumped through a second floor window and survived.
"It was just quiet, and you heard, boom, boom, boom; and that was actually the floors imploding on one another,” Gomez said. "I didn't really jump. I was more like pulled by a colleague, a firefighter.”
A year later, Gomez left New York and the health care industry behind to take some time to heal. It wasn’t until 20 years later that he was encouraged to get back in the saddle. He wanted to care for others once again after being inspired by AdventHealth’s mission and his sister, an AdventHealth nurse.
"I don't think I'm quite ready to get back out there on an ambulance like I used to,” Gomez said. “But at the same time, even transportation here at the hospital is a good way to get in and kind of show people that you care from the ground up."
While we honor those who saved lives on 9/11, Gomez asks to not be called a hero.
"The truth is that the heroes are the people who didn't come home that day,” Gomez said.
Gomez’s story appeared on “AdventHealth TV,” AdventHealth’s internal newscast for its Central Florida Division team members. Watch here: AdventHealth Team Member Shares Memories Working at Ground Zero on 9/11 - AHTV Story