As the 5th anniversary of the September 11th attacks draw near, Americans will be faced with memories of a tragedy that forever changed the nation. However, two local survivors of the attack are turning their memories of the event into something positive, which could help save lives in the future.
"They were encouraging us not to look up, not to look back. It was raining glass, raining debris and people were jumping," said Oral Capps, 9/11 survivor.
Capps and his wife Debbie were in the World Trade Center when terrorists struck. Despite the chaos and carnage, they were able to escape together, uninjured.
"As we were moving away I was thinking, is this an invasion? Is this chemical warfare? Is it a nuclear thing," he said.
The couple never would have imagined friendships would have been born out of such calamity. Somehow, someway, their paths crossed with New York City Firefighter, Mike Prodromides.
"We all went there with visions of trying to save some of our brothers. But once you got onto the site, it was pretty much you knew, their weren't going to be many survivors of this episode," said Prodromides.
Prodromides is from Engine 3 in Manhattan, the company that assisted Debbie Capps during the evacuation.
That chance meeting led to a friendship, which led to a visit, which led to a presentation by Prodromides Friday at Texas A&M.
"We had 16 acres of property with five stories of rubble to search through," he said. "You were pretty much on your own getting your own equipment.
Together the Capps' and Prodromides’ vowed to make something positive out of the experience. That led to the creation of the Capps Family Firefighter Education Foundation, a project that gives scholarships to firefighters who want to attend the Brayton Fire Training School.
"We know what good things firemen did. The magnitude of the scholarship couldn't completely pay for all their tuition, but it's a recognition and we just wanted to give back because so much was given to us," said Capps.
Prodromides will be helping the Capps raise money for the scholarships by sharing his story at a fundraiser in College Station Sunday. As their friendship continues to grow, it will create a lasting legacy that could one day save more lives.