September 9, 2011

A Maine family reaches for 'something positive'

Loved ones make certain that Stephen Ward, who died in the Sept. 11 attacks, has an enduring legacy.

By Ray Routhier rrouthier@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

WINDHAM - Ten years has made a difference.

911 Memorial 5k Run/Walk

WHEN: 8:30 a.m. (kids fun run) and 9 a.m. today

WHERE: Gorham Recreation Department, 75 South st.

INFO: facebook.com/911memorial5k; runreg.com; 615-7170.

WHAT ELSE: The event is a fundraiser for the Stephen G. Ward memorial scholarship. Ward was 33 years old when he was killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City. 

Back to "Remembering 9/11"  special section

Not that the years have lessened the pain of losing her younger brother in the World Trade Center attacks. But now the pain is not so immediate for Susan Moore, the reminders not as constant.

"Ten years makes it less immediate, you function in real life more. I don't remember that first year (after her brother's death) very well," said Moore, 44, a real estate broker from Windham. "I couldn't buy a tube of toothpaste without seeing the images (of the attacks) on magazine covers. There was no place to hide, emotionally."

Moore's brother, Stephen Ward, was 33 and working as a certified public accountant for Cantor Fitzgerald on the 101st floor of the World Trade Center's north tower when the attacks occurred on Sept. 11, 2001. He had been working at the firm for only a few weeks when he was killed.

He didn't even have an apartment yet.

"He was just couch-surfing. He put a deposit down on an apartment the night before," said Moore.

Moore and her family have tried to deal with Ward's loss in constructive ways. Soon after his death they started a scholarship fund at Gorham High School, where he had graduated. Last year the Stephen G. Ward Memorial Scholarship Fund provided $2,000, split between two scholar-athletes at the school. The goal of the fund is to be able to send one student a year to college.

Today, on the anniversary of the attacks, Moore and her family -- including Ward's parents and another sister -- are organizing the first 911 Memorial 5K Run/Walk, in conjunction with Gorham Recreation Department. There will be a kids "fun run" and a 5K run/walk. Funds will be raised for the scholarship through sponsorships and donations.

Moore hopes the road race can evolve into an annual event. She'd like it to become a family festival of sorts, with a theme of promoting volunteering.

"It helps us to feel like we can maybe make something positive out of this," said Moore.

Ward, a University of Maine alumnus, was a funny, athletic young man who wanted to better himself. He worked in Boston, and also pursued a master's degree with a focus on taxation and financial planning. He looked for jobs where he would have room to grow and advance and found one in New York.

Moore says the fact that the anniversary of her brother's death is recognized worldwide every year doesn't make it necessarily any harder or easier. The same goes for the killing of Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaida leader and architect of the terrorist attacks.

"We think that it's important the world knows that no matter how long it takes, if you orchestrate the murder of thousands of Americans, we will never stop looking for you," said Moore. "On a personal level though, our perspective changed little. The person we love is still absent."

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:

rrouthier@pressherald.com

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