CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – As a member of MUSC’s coronavirus collection team, Johan Zamoscianyk walks towards danger daily.
According to MUSC, he’s tasked with ensuring nurses who have just tested patients at the hospital’s drive through testing site are decontaminated of the virus.
Zamoscianyk, who is at risk for respiratory illness, is committed to service, and his record shows he takes duty seriously.
On September 11, 2001, Zamoscianyk was at the base of the North Tower of the World Trade Center when it collapsed.
“I knew I would be going into harm’s way. That’s my job. I am not not going to not do my job. I knew a lot of men that went there that didn’t go home that day. My friends were there, I needed to find them,” he recounted.
Zamoscianyk spent weeks at Ground Zero searching through the rubble.
“Everyday we found someone or parts of someone. That was closure for their families,” he continued.
He he would work four shifts in a row each 12 to 20 hours long.
“I did that until the end of September and then I went back and got sick and I was out for 9 weeks learning how to breath,” he recalled.
19 years later, the memory is still clear.
“People flash pictures from Facebook,” he said. “I don’t even need to close my eyes I see it, I hear it, I smell it,” he added.
On Friday, he walked the Ravenel Bridge in honor of the more than 2,990 people who died on September 11th.
“Coming across the bridge today we walked into a fog bank. 19 years ago we walked into a cloud of dust,” he said. “The only difference was I could smell it then. I couldn’t smell it today, ” he added.
Zamoscianyk suffered serious damage from the hours he spent in the rubble–putting him at risk for Covid-19. He said his family wanted him to deny his assignment to serve on the hospital’s testing team but he said it’s his job and he is doing it everyday to honor the lives of the fallen.
“As long as we have events like this and members are remembered, my friends are alive and that day will never be forgotten,” he said.