ELKINS, W.Va. – On the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Gregory Paugh sat in front of the Randolph Co. Courthouse and did what he said he does best – show appreciation for law enforcement and first responders.
I just want to have a demonstration to support our local law enforcement, our first responders, all those that are there for us and to recognize those who died that day on 9/11. 343 firemen. 60 police officers, countless EMS and, you know, just to bring attention to the fact that they’re missed their loved and they’re not forgotten.Gregory Paugh – Activist
Paugh, an army veteran, said he did not know anyone who died on 9/11, but he still remembers where he was when he got the news.
He was sitting at his grandma’s kitchen table. His initial reactions were “shock” and “disbelief”.
“It, kind of, broke my heart, you know,” Paugh said. “All those people died, you know, that day, it’s just that it’s like part of me. When somebody in this country dies, in a way, it’s like part of me because I love this country. I fought for this country. I was in Desert Storm.”
His military career, Paugh said, is what he draws on to understand everything first responders had to go through on Sept. 11, 2001.
As for his appreciation, he said that’s always been there.
Paugh said that’s because they have an often thankless job. Plus, they have helped to save lives every single day since 9/11 and did so even before the attacks.
“It means the world to me,” Paugh said. “They’ve saved my life, they pulled me out of a car with the jaws of life. I was coming home from college and Fairmont going to Mill Creek and they pulled me out and had to use the jaws of life to cut the car out and it took me down to Mon General. I was working my way to Morgantown, but they saved my life, so I know what it’s all about.”
Paugh said it’s all about showing appreciation every day for the brave souls who risked their lives during the 9/11 terrorist attacks and in other life-threatening situations.