9/11 Stories: Trish Chelsen


On September 11, 2001, Trish Chelsen, wife of Roy Chelson, an NYC firefighter, was at work as a nurse, tending to a critically ill patient in ICU, when the first place hit the North Tower. The patient was so ill, he was Trish’s only hospital case that day. When she was told about the first hit on The World Trade Center, she kept working, tending to her critically ill charge. She quickly realized her husband, Roy, would be one of the first to respond, but she remained focused on her work. After the second passenger plane plowed into the South tower, the situation at the hospital immediately shifted. Everyone started preparations for mass casualties. Trish continued working with her patient, constantly saying to herself, “I hope Roy’s okay, I hope he’s ok.” She was so busy, she didn’t see any news coverage on tv until later that afternoon. Trish remembers the moment her manager walked down the hall toward her. She could not read her manager’s face, but she feared she was about to hear the worst. Her manager said she’d just gotten a call from The FDNY and was told Her husband was alive, but his condition was unknown. Finally, after 2 hours that seems like an eternity, Trish got a call from Roy’s parents. They had spoken to their son. He was okay. Sadly, Roy died a very painful death 10 years later, after a 5 year battle with 9/11 cancer. Roy Chelsen died on 1/9/11...the first NYC first responder to die of a 9/11 illness after President Obama signed The Zadroga Act into law, providing free lifetime health care for 9/11 first responders and others sickened by the 9/11 dust. He was just 51.