In honor of the 19th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is paying tribute to the heroes who lost their lives and those who saved countless others.
In a video message, several HCSO employees share their stories as first responders who worked in New York City and Washington, D.C. on 9/11. Among them is Retired NYPD Officer Rudy Bueno, who now works as a HCSO deputy.
“I had a job to do. It wasn’t a time for me to ask questions and have doubt. I had a responsibility,” said Deputy Bueno, who received multiple phone calls the morning of 9/11 to respond to Lower Manhattan following the initial plane crash. After 9/11, Deputy Bueno went onto join a squad that lost four officers on that fateful day.
“You can’t forget it. You want to forget it, but you can’t,” said Retired NYPD Sgt. Michael Duran.
Duran now works in the HCSO Warrants Section. He was one of many officers at Ground Zero aiding in rescue and recovery efforts immediately following the attacks in New York.
Maintaining security at the Pentagon post-attack was the responsibility of HCSO Patrol Deputy Jacob Garrard, a member of the 3rd U.S. Infantry (the Old Guard) in 2001. Deputy Garrard was stationed at Fort Myers, Virginia. He recalls working with the Air Force from the ground that day as they secured the sky.
“For my generation, it was our Pearl Harbor. It was our Vietnam. It was our moment that I don’t think anybody will forget,” explained HCSO Criminal Intelligence Analyst Christine Freitas. She continues to serve her community after retiring as a DEA Special Agent.
Retired Agent Freitas responded to the Pentagon crash site, helping dig through the debris in the wake of the terrorist attack.
“Everything in the pile was a mismatch of melted office telephones, luggage and shredded clothes, and people’s certificates of achievement,” said Freitas. “I hope that the things that I found in the pile brought peace to someone. Maybe a family member or somebody who worked in that building. Their family may have something to remember them by. It’s why I do what I do. It’s why I’ve been in law enforcement almost my whole life is to help.”
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister praised each of the employees and all those who responded on 9/11 for their bravery.
“I’m proud to say that these heroes are a part of Team HCSO. We are honored to have them,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “We recognize the job that was done on 9/11, we appreciate those that were on the frontline, and we remember the lives we lost.”
A link to view each HCSO hero sharing their 9/11 story can be found below.