'I Have to Help'
On Sept. 11, Mitchel Wallace, a court officer in State Supreme Court, was arriving for work at 111 Center Street when he saw a plane hit the World Trade Center. He ran to help.
It was a typical reaction for Mr. Wallace, 34. He had saved lives before.
Trained as an emergency medical technician, Mr. Wallace had saved his fiancée, Noreen McDonough, three years ago by dragging her to the hospital after he noticed her exhibiting symptoms of a stroke.
Then, last year, Mr. Wallace was on his way home on the Long Island Rail Road when a man on the train went into cardiac arrest. Mr. Wallace performed C.P.R. for more than 25 minutes, and the man survived. Mr. Wallace received an award for heroism from Judith S. Kaye, New York's chief judge, and moved from family court to the Supreme Court.
On that morning in September, when Mr. Wallace arrived at the World Trade Center, he called Ms. McDonough to tell her that there had been a terrible accident. She told him that it was not an accident but a terrorist attack and told him to get away.
He replied: "I can't. There are bodies everywhere. I have to help."
After Mr. Wallace disappeared, Judge Kaye went over to the apartment of Ms. McDonough and Mr. Wallace with a large bag of jelly beans and sat down with her. She said, "We are going to sit here and eat jelly beans until he comes home."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 27, 2001.