News, Patient Care

Retired NYC Paramedic Reflects on News of Bin Laden’s Death

The calls, text messages and Facebook updates kept coming in to Rosey Velez’s phone late Sunday night. Friends, family and former co-workers wanted to share the news about Osama bin Laden’s death.

“I think I’ve typed more in the past two hours than I have the past four years,” said Velez, a retired New York City paramedic who was captain for a special operations division at ground zero during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

“Every year I wind up crying, but I think I wound up crying more in the last two hours.”

Velez, who lives in San Angelo with his wife and children, runs Sbarro restaurant in the Sunset Mall. He also is co-founder of Emergency Services Respite Center, which provides counseling services to firefi ghters, paramedics, police oècers – anyone with a badge who needs a place to deal with stress from situations job-related or not.

Despite helping first responders cope with their problems through the years, Velez experiences “survivor guilt” at times as a result of what he went through because of the Sept. 11 attacks.

“I got to know several of the families of those who lost their lives that day, he said. “I may have trouble walking, breathing, but I’m still here. So many of our other guys aren’t here. And what do you say to somebody who has lost a close family member?”