Tell what you did on 9/11 (Video post)

2993 American Flags

Hi, it’s the Spanish OSHA Guy here. Safety must be a value that is carried with an individual 24/7. So, when you give your regular toolbox safety talks, be sure to incorporate safety outside of work as well. Another great way to impact your employees regarding safety is to tie safety training to matters of the heart (what they care about and value like their kids). In this case, it is a remembrance of how fragile life is and to not take each day lightly. On certain occasions like 9/11, it is fitting to conduct your daily or weekly safety talk on a topic such as this: Tell what were you were and what you did on 9/11/01.

My story takes place in Monterrey, Nuevo León, México; about 6 hours south (by car) from San Antonio, TX on the Mexican side of the boarder. The video (1:30) shows you dozens of people picking up 2993 American Flags that George Fregeau put on his front lawn in Leominster, MA (my hometown) to honor the heroes directly affected by September 11, 2001. In the video I talk about where I was, what I did that moment and in the following days. I invite you to write in the comments section below where you were, what you did that day and in the ensuing weeks after September 11th.

Greater Monterrey is a city of about 4.5 million people (about the size of greater Boston). A beautiful city, the pride of Northern Mexico and truly the engine of 1/3 of the economy of that country. (Very sadly, since 2008 through to the present Monterrey has suffered much unrest due to increased drug violence. That is something that Monterrey had been immune to for over 50 years. Please pray for Mexico. Things must change.)

It was the start of my second year living in Mexico, but this time it involved field work and research and development of alternative fuels in cement manufacturing! (Watch my “Meet Steven” video to hear about my first year in Mexico 1998-1999.) The company was CEMEX (Cementos Mexicanos), the 3rd largest cement manufacturer in the world, boasting operations on 5 continents. That year I got a lot of safety experience that helps me give effective OSHA training today. My work with respirators was the most attention grabbing as I spent many weeks sifting through tire ash. But that’s another story!

I was supposed to start work on Tuesday Sept. 11, 2001; but my boss was delayed and didn’t return on schedule from his trip to Spain to oversee European operations. Therefore I was told not to come in until Wednesday. So, like a good 23-year-old, I was sleeping in when the towers were hit. Monterrey is in the Central Time Zone.

I rented a shared room on the second floor of a Mexican family’s home near the local university where I took night classes as part of my yearlong work exchange through the Fulbright Scholarship program. That was why I worked in Mexico that year 2001-2002. Picture 7 double-rooms all with their own bathroom on the upper level of a home. Our sweet Mexican mother (my host mother) cooked for literally 11 Mexican college students, one French exchange student and me! Amazing! She and another lady did laundry as part of the arrangement too. I’m still in touch with that family today.

The video tells the rest: How a group of 3 Mexicans along with my French roommate woke me up and told me to turn on any channel. How the country of Mexico was taken that whole week. Church prayer services abounded and our neighbor to the south was in shock as well.

I encourage you to write where you were, what you did that day and also in the ensuing days and weeks following September 11, 2001. Until next time, Steven St. Laurent

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