Mark Bloome

My wife and I live outside Philadelphia, approximately halfway between New York and Washington. My wife, Wendy Vogl-Bloome, since her teenage years, was an emergency medical technician and later a paramedic. She also trained in critical incident stress management and joined a team of CISM professionals in New Jersey. The first thing she said on Sept. 11 was, “I’m going.”

Two or three times a week for the next four months she traveled to New York and worked 24-hour shifts. In December she convinced me to go with her. We got to the morgue where they were still trying to identify human remains. I took my place in an Honor Guard as a fireman’s remains were taken from the back of one of the 10 refrigerated trailers and escorted by members of his station for burial. I fought back nausea as the door to the trailer opened and the smell of all the remains flooded the area, and I proudly saluted.

She has been in counseling ever since to help her deal with what she saw and heard. The smell of jet fuel brings back bad memories. She battles sinus problems from whatever she breathed there.

Since that time both my wife and I are more spiritual. No longer an EMT or paramedic, she is a Reiki master and explores the world of Buddhism.

Bloome is a supervisor, Veterans Affairs Department National Service Desk, Philadelphia.