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Roswell Remembers 9/11: Finding New Purpose After Loss of Career

Less than a year after the attacks Virginia Farley lost her job in the travel industry, but now finds strength and purpose in a new career.

EDITOR'S NOTE: As part of Patch's coverage and commemoration, we are putting together images and human interest stories about how that tragic date has affected us all.

What follows are the thoughts and memories of Virginia Farley, who is now a Roswell resident. She looks back 10 years to the loss of a career and the hope found in moving forward, in spite of the attacks.

"A native New Yorker from Long Island, I have dozens of friends and family members who lost people in the attacks. Some of my friends and cousins were first responders; thankfully they survived. I so wanted to go and help, as many of my fellow New Yorkers were able to, but I was in Atlanta without the means to do anything

It was a very somber and frustrating time for me.

My career at the time was in the travel business. So our entire industry was decimated. I was employed by a travel agency in the Cumberland Mall area. After the tragedy all of the employees were put on four day work weeks wondering when travel would pick up again. I was the last person hired so first one they let go when it was obvious it would take longer to recover.

My last day at that company was March 15, 2002; ironically, 25 years to the day that I started my career in New York City. I was devastated at the loss of my chosen profession, which I had been so successful in and had afforded me the opportunity to travel the world.

I had a couple of temp jobs and tried my hand at becoming a mortgage broker. But nothing was permanent or fulfilling.

The positive effect for me came in Dec. 2003 when I moved to Roswell from Kennesaw in hopes that a new area would bring new opportunities.

As I was moving into the house and was unpacking, in all the chaos I locked myself out of my house. A neighbor was walking down the block, we called a locksmith and talked while we waited, as it turns out Nancy Bailey was in the throes of starting a new business, a staffing agency for marketing and advertising talent.

I said  'I have all the time in the world, what can I do to help?"
I dug in and learned the business from end-to-end. I soon found out that finding people jobs is a very satisfying experience. I have been very successful in this new career.

It was hard to create a new life for myself at that time, when Sept. 11 took so much from so many. But, in my own life, I persevered. The events of 9/11 also prepared me for other challenges I would face these past years, the inevitable loss of aging parents and a divorce.

I am thriving and as hopeful as ever. I feel the events of that day made me stronger and more resilient than I would have ever thought possible."

•••

Were you in New York at the time? Did you have family or friends who were affected? Do you know of anyone who was deployed to fight in Iraq or Afghanistan?

If your life was in some way changed by the events of 9/11, we're asking for photos or personal accounts to share with our readers. What are your memories of that day that changed your life here in Roswell?

Please send a photo and your story by e-mail to Christine Foster.

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