Jennieann Maffeo was 40 years old. She was a senior programmmer at UBS PaineWebber in New Jersey. On the morning of September 11, 2001, she was waiting for a bus near the towers. When the planes hit, she was doused with burning jet fuel. She was rescued by Ronald Clifford, a 51 year old Irish immigrant, who read her the Lord’s Prayer and stayed with her until rescue workers got her to an ambulance.
She fought for life for 41 days in a burn unit at Presbyterian Hospital- Cornell Medical Center before passing away on October 22, 2001. “We had a short miracle, ” said her sister, Andrea Maffeo. ” We were able to be with her.
We talked to her, although she couldn’t talk to us. They said they had never seen more visitors in the hospital.” [Source: New York Times: “Portraits of Grief”].
You helped me change my life. I can remember seeing you in hospital. . . . I was hesitant at first, worried that I might say or do the wrong thing in my efforts to encourage you. But you exuded such serenity. God was with you all those days and I experienced that while in your midst. I don’t think I had faith until then. To see with my own eyes what you endured and to know that you were making the simple yet profound decision to live. . . .
There aren’t words to describe my gratitude to you or to your incredibly loving, faith-filled family. They allowed us to know you and we are all greater for having shared part of your journey with you.
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According to the New York Times‘ portrait, Jennieann Maffeo had the “Giving Gene”:
She volunteered for all kinds of charities, helping children learn to read, raising money for juvenile diabetes research and regularly providing meals for a handicapped co-worker.
When her goddaughter was born, she was so eager to pitch in that she offered to baby- sit even though she had no experience with newborns. The result: a contented baby, diapered backward.
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Colin Nash’s Newsday remembrance describes her as “A Tireless Champion Of Good Causes, Fun” (Newsday Nov. 6, 2001):
Jennieann Maffeo had the heart of a lion and a heart of gold, her family said.
Maffeo, 40, was a tireless volunteer, said her sister, Andrea. A senior associate at Wall Street brokerage firm UBS PaineWebber, Maffeo was always in the loop when it came to company-sponsored charities. She raised funds for juvenile diabetes, her sister said. She spent her lunch hour helping children learn to read, in schools near her offices in Weehawken, N.J. And she led the charge in the drive to collect toys for local children during the holidays.
Maffeo also was the organizer around the office, her sister said. She organized wedding showers. She organized baby showers. And she helped organize the holiday get-togethers. “She was the type of person you can count on,” she said. . . .
Maffeo worked at New York University after graduating from Baruch College in 1982. Her sister said Maffeo took care of a fellow worker at NYU who was disabled, helping with his daily routines. It was her sister’s nature to give of herself and her time, Andrea Maffeo said. In fact, on the morning of Sept. 11, her sister was pondering the economics of shopping on the Internet or going to a wholesale club after work to pick up art supplies for a company-sponsored fund-raiser, she said.
“She was the type of person who, if she had her last dollar and someone needed it, she would give it to them,” she said. “She just had such a giving spirit.”
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Memories from Legacy.com — from Maria Hernandez, a cousin (“I always loved to hear you sing in church you had a beautiful voice”); from Evan Momios, a fellow commuter (“She was one of those people that always notified the driver when a coworker was running to catch the departing bus”); from Jaime Pisani, a classmate at UBS-Paine Webber Stevens Institute of Technology:
She was always happy and upbeat; always willing to lend a hand when needed. On a personal note, I will never forget how she helped me out when I had to miss class and our group presentation meeting because I had laryngitis. She was kind enough to take notes for me and brief me on what I had missed.
Jennieann Maffeo — loved and missed by all who knew her.
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Update – Ron Clifford, who stayed and prayed with Jennieann while waiting for an ambulance, survived 9/11, but lost his sister Ruth and niece Juliana, both of whom were on United flight 175.
You can read about Ruth Magdaline (Clifford) McCourt on The Original Musings.