9-11 survivor to share story of his 'longest journey home'
Date: 6/26/2012June 27, 2012
By Katelyn Gendronkatelyn@thereminder.com
SPRINGFIELD Stanley Praimnath of Long Island, N.Y., believes that the Lord spared his life on Sept. 11, 2001, for two reasons: one, so that he could return to his family, and two, so that he could "tell people about God and his grace."
As part of the Christian Life Center's "Salute America: Remembering 9-11" on July 1, Praimnath will share his "longest journey home" from the 81st floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center. His presentation will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the center, 1590 Sumner Ave.
"After 9-11, my wife [Jennifer] had a medical plan that allowed me to go to 10 sessions of counseling. I went but I believe God healed my body, he'll heal my mind," Praimnath told Reminder Publications
He'd also been present for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and believed that his workplace for Fuji Bank, then on the 79th floor, "was a bad place and was unsafe." Praimnath said despite his reservations, he continued to work for the bank in its loan department into 2001 because of financial obligations, which included a mortgage and he and Jennifer's two children, Stephanie and Caitlin.
When the plane hit the South Tower on Sept. 11, 2001, his first thought was getting home to his family.
"I'm standing up with the phone in my hand and didn't know that the plane had hit the first building [at 8:46 a.m.]. I raised my head and looking toward the Statue of Liberty and saw a plane, small at first, and getting larger. The plane was bearing down on me and I can hear the sound of the engine and I dove under my desk. The next thing I heard was most of the floor above me collapsed and the ceiling dropped and the cables were short-circuiting and sprinkler system [activated]," Praimnath recalled.
"All of my coworkers that were there at the time were all gone. The air pressure was so great that I was worried that I'd get sucked out. I said to myself, 'Lord send anybody to help me. I don't want to die. What is going to befall my wife?'" he continued, taking a moment to compose himself.
It was then that Brian Clark, who worked on the 84th floor, arrived on the scene and could hear Praimnath screaming for help.
"He was screaming, 'I'll wait for you!'" Praimnath recalled. "The only light I could've seen was the flashlight [Brian had] ... I was holding onto the mangled furniture. I crawled almost the entire length of the loans department and Brian was trying to break a wall down [that was blocking my route to the stairwell] He said, 'If you want to live, climb over the wall.'
"I was banging on the wall. A black sheetrock screw went straight through my palm. The nail was attached to the wood. I made a fist as tightly as I could and took a swing at the wall and my hand went through it and he pulled my body through," Praimnath continued.
"We were hobbling down the stairs. We got to the lobby and the firefighters and police who were running back into the building. They told us to run across the street. They told us, 'Do not look up or around,'" he added.
"The next thing I remember, I turned to Brian and said that the building was going to go down. It was swaying back and fourth and it started to implode and all hell broke loose. Brian and I got separated from each other and the people were running. It looked like a giant tsunami of smoke and we were enveloped of smoke. It looked like an apocalypse," he continued.
Praimnath, in a state of shock and covered in blood and bruises and dressed in clothing that "looked like it had been through a shredder," walked away from the Towers in search of his wife.
"Jenny had worked [in Brooklyn]. They were looking from her office window and in her heart I was gone. Jenny drove home and picked up the children and was waiting at home and she thought I was gone. I was there walking across the Brooklyn Bridge toward her office," he said.
When he reached her office building, Praimnath called home after a few moments spent struggling to remember the number.
"I told her [Jennifer], 'The Lord took care of me, I'm coming home to you girls,'" he recalled, adding that he then hung up the phone walked to the train station, which took him to his car and he drove home.
"Jenny and the girls were standing at the front door and she was holding onto the children. Caitlin was 4 and Stephanie was 8.5. She was screaming. Stephanie had a butter knife in her hand. She said, 'Dad, if you didn't come home, I was going to kill myself.' I just lost it. Jenny said I was mumbling not to take me to the hospital. She took me to my doctor," Praimnath recalled.
After several visits to the doctor and several weeks at home, which were filled with panic attacks, acute bronchitis and nightmares, he returned to work during the first week of October 2001.
Praimnath said it has been a long road, but not an impossible one, back to the life he had before the events of 9-11. He now works for the Royal Bank of Scotland in Stamford, Conn., and is also a licensed minister for a congregation in Queens, N.Y.
When asked what he hoped audiences would take away from his appearance at the Christian Life Center, Praimnath replied, "I want them to know God is good and He's gracious and if you call with all your mind and heart and soul He is going to hear and God, in His time, is going to get the bad guys."