Feet in 2 Countries
Wilder Alfredo Gomez's family was split between New York City and Colombia, and after the first plane hit the World Trade Center, one of his brothers in South America reached him by telephone. On any other day, Mr. Gomez would have told his brother not to worry, that his shift as a waiter, sometimes bartender, at Windows on the World did not start until afternoon. But on Sept. 11 he had been filling in for a co-worker since early morning.
"He told his brother he was trapped on the 103rd floor and that there was a lot of smoke," said Rosario Piedrahita, an aunt in New York.
Mr. Gomez, 38, had come to the city 10 years ago and lived in Brooklyn with his mother and his 7-year-old daughter, Stephanie. "He was a hard worker, a good father," his aunt said. "He loved to dance and play soccer."
But while he planned to become a United States citizen in January, he kept one foot firmly planted in his native country. His ties to Colombia included his father, three brothers and one son and two daughters whom he financially supported, Ms. Piedrahita said. And on a trip this year to Cali, his hometown, she said, he had also reunited with a childhood girlfriend whom he had decided to marry next year.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 8, 2001.