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Ginamarie Berger, BIS

May 10, 2009

9-11 survivor lives every day to the fullest

Those who know Ginamarie Berger say her enthusiasm for life is contagious. She lives her life to the fullest, throwing herself into volunteer work with gusto. She knows she is lucky to be alive, and it shows.

Almost eight years ago, on Sept. 11, 2001, she had just started classes at Pace University in New York City and was working as a secretary for the Port Authority of New York. After attending ASU for a year, she had told her family that her longtime love affair with New York City was calling her, so she had packed up and left Arizona.

When the first jet crashed into the World Trade Center, Berger was in her office on the 77th floor of the north tower. She barely escaped the horrific events that killed many of her friends and coworkers. Debris and three inches of dust and ashes lay over the Pace University campus, and its buildings were damaged.

Traumatized, Berger was nurtured back to life by her family and friends. Since then she has become a representative to a handful of Arizonans who were fortunate enough to survive the historical attacks.

Graduating with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies, Berger works in the governor’s office as a liaison to the commission on service and volunteerism. She coordinated Phoenix’s 2009 Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service Campaign and the entertainment for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, receiving awards for both. She’s been an intern for the Arizona Civil Rights Project, and she mentors a fifth grader.

“Blessed” and “lucky” are the two words she most frequently uses to describe her opportunity to be alive today.