Friday, December 10, 2010

Hospitality on September 11

SOURCE: Debra Gordon in Family Circle.“Strength in Numbers.”  Readers Digest.  September 2002
KEYWORDS: hospitality, unity, kindness, outreach, gratitude

On September 11, Lloyd George was ending a Salvation Army meeting in Lewisporte, Newfoundland when his cell phone rang.  Hanging up, he told his committee:  “There’s been an emergency in the States.  They need our town.”  Thirty-eight U.S.-bound planes with 6595 passengers and crew had been diverted to a nearby airport.

Lewisporte (pop 4000) threw open its schools, churches and social clubs to take as many as they could.  Mayor Bill Hooper had all the temporary shelters wired with extra phone lines and cable TV.  Townspeople delivered bedding, underwear and pajamas, and served hot meals three times a day.  Doctors and nurses went on 24-hour call; pharmacies filled prescriptions for free.  In the evening, the Newfoundlanders entertained their guests with folk songs, poems, karaoke.

Recalls one passenger, “Short of being home, we were in the best place I can imagine at a terrible time.  We felt safe, cared for, welcomed.”

When flights finally began ferrying people home, grateful passengers pledged to start a college fund for Lewisporte students.  By July 2002 the figure had reached $50,000.


Anonymous said...


I came across your website and read this and can remember that day very well.
We (residents of Lewisporte) can't imagine NOT doing this for those people. It's only what we would hope someone would do for us, if we were in that situation.
We have had many of those people come back for visits and keep in touch.
It was a horrible time in history, but life-long friendships were made and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to spread a little kindness. :)

- Pam Snow
(a VERY proud Newfoundlander)

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your comment. It's wonderful to hear your story. Too often when you read something, you wonder how true it is. Your comment confirms the wonderful hospitality of the people of Lewisporte. God bless.