11 Days of Heroes to September 11th: Joseph D’Aleo

Image from the 9/11 Memorial & Museum

On September 11th, NYC Department of Sanitation supervisor Joseph D’Aleo was at an appointment near the World Trade Center when he saw Flight 11 hit the North Tower. He recognized it was a commercial airliner and ordered immediate evacuation of all DSNY personnel from lower Manhattan. He and his partner left just before the South Tower collapsed and they took shelter at a nearby garage. Once the smoke cleared, he returned to the site to distribute dust masks to first responders. He went to Ground Zero daily for the next year and oversaw refuse hauling, dumpster removal, and recycling procedures at the site. He also ensured flagged truckloads of material were removed to Fresh Kills landfill for further sifting.

In 2002, he developed a symptom of sarcoidosis, a persistent cough. His 9/11-related issues continued to intensify over the years. He retired from DSNY in 2004.

Image from the Harvard Gazette