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Remembering Harvey Joseph Gardner III

I visited my daughter in her new town of Dallas, Texas a few weeks ago, where she’s now a second grade teacher. One of the things I wanted to do while there was visit the George Bush Museum and Library, so I took the kids on a hot summer’s day, waited through long lines to pass security screening and eventually enter the library. While there, I wanted to pay my respects to the man whom I’ve promised to remember – Harvey Joseph Gardner III, who died when a hijacked airplane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

I’ll never forget.   I’ll always remember.

harvey gardner bush 1024x577 Remembering Harvey Joseph Gardner III

When a hijacked airplane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, Harvey Joseph Gardner called his brother Mark to let him know what was happening.

Mr. Gardner was reassuring the people who worked around him on the 93rd floor in the office of General Telecom.

“I can imagine what he did when the events unfolded,” another brother, Anthony, said. “I’m sure he was helping people who couldn’t get out.”

To his family, Mr. Gardner was a hero and role model. “He knew what was important in life,” Anthony Gardner said.

Born in Newark, Mr. Gardner lived in Belleville before moving to Lakewood four years ago.

After high school, Mr. Gardner couldn’t decide whether to be a chef or computer technician. He chose the latter as a profession, and dabbled in the former as a hobby. He was 35.

“He loved to cook,” said Anthony Gardner. “He used to make his concoctions, putting them over pasta. He was inventive in his cooking.”

Mr. Gardner had been a car salesman. But about three years ago, got a job at General Telecom, where he was a supervisor.

At home, he practiced martial arts.

“He promoted a healthy lifestyle. He was very spiritual and liked to run on the beach,” Anthony Gardner said.

Judith Torea, Mr. Gardner’s mother, said her son always wanted to help his country. She said she saw his death as just that.

“He was trying to calm other people down. That’s the kind of person he was. He had a very kind heart.”

In Mr. Gardner’s honor, his family and friends created a Web site for victims’ families: www.wtcunitedfamilygroup.org.

Mr. Gardner also is survived by his father, Harvey J. Gardner II; stepfather, Manuel Torea, and a half-brother, Joseph.

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