Don Reason



I began my PA career upon High School graduation at age 18. However, I was not new to the “PA” because my dad worked at 111 8th Ave. and once took me up in one of those huge elevators capable of lifting a fully loaded trailer AND tractor to many upper floors for unloading at various tenants’ truck docks. I became an employee in 1954 as a messenger and worked up the ladder, capping off my career as a Construction Safety Inspector at the WTC.

During my early years, while assigned to the Aviation Department as a Clerical Aide, one of my assignments was to fill in for the Department Director, Mr. John Wiley’s chauffeur when he was absent. Here I was, very young and impressionable, tasked with driving one of the top executives around in MANHATTAN! One day I received word that the Director wanted me to take him to his midtown train station. It was evening rush hour when Mr. Wiley met me at the (111 8th Ave) garage he advised me that he was a little late so try to get him to his midtown train station quickly. I knew the best route would be to go via Park Avenue. In those days, Park Avenue traffic lights only had two colors: red and green. While driving a little rapidly, the light turned red and I had to make, let’s say, an abrupt stop. I did so and hearing a “thump”, looked in the review mirror and no Mr. Wiley! A few seconds later I saw him extracting himself from the car floor and resuming his seat. My apology was graciously accepted with the words, “No problem, you were only trying to get me there in time.” Hellofaguy that Mr. Wiley!!!

One of my interesting memories (for me) occurred at the street level WTC when I spotted a welder spewing sparks, many of which were endangering scores of commuters passing through the area. As I rushed toward the welder, a guy in a camel-hair overcoat began to enter my path and I yelled, “Pardon me” and kind of pushed him aside. I immediately put a stop to the welding operation until adequate protection was provided for the commuters. Very shortly after the incident, I learned the guy in the camel-hair coat was the head of the OSHA office in downtown NYC!

Another incident occurred while working at the WTC Tower B safety office. Notice was made on the PA radio that a scaffold on Tower A had fallen. I ran to our window and saw the scaffold had indeed fallen on one end but still held securely at the other end with two men literally hanging-on for dear life! You should have witnessed the panic by those wanting to make a quick rescue. At that stage of construction there was a little problem. ALL windows in the working area location had been permanently sealed shut and could not be opened. The scaffold personnel had to hang on while the window contractor’s personnel were located and responded to un-seal and remove a window so the “victims” could be rescued. I’m sure it felt like an eternity to them but I was really glad I didn’t have to do their laundry!!!



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