Nursing student answers 9-11 call
by Andrew Shurtleff
J. Foronjy Jr.
By Katherine Jackson
Joseph Foronjy Jr. had a big celebration planned for Sept. 11.
It was his 30th birthday, and he was planning a night of serious
partying with friends.
that all changed. Word from family and friends in New York caught
up in the chaos of the terrorist attacks led him to a night of
cursing and crying.
from Long Island, will graduate from the School
of Nursing on May 19 with a bachelors degree in nursing
and a renewed passion for helping people.
was working with patients at Western State Hospital when I heard
about the attacks. While watching the tragedy unfold on television,
family members called.
four cousins all brothers, all New York firefighters
entered the World Trade Center. It collapsed. One brother, Timmy,
was missing. Ten days later, the brothers carried Timmys
flag-draped body from the wreckage.
outpouring of support and encouragement by faculty, staff and
fellow students helped Foronjy to keep up with his demanding nursing
school curriculum. As I struggled through my grief, teachers
responded, when appropriate, with hugs.
days after the attacks, I was so freaked out that I was barely
able to move. Unable to continue my rounds, I was given time off,
had given his life. The least I could do would be to drive to
New York to help. For three days, pulling 12-hour shifts, I assisted
inhalation and grief-stricken patients at New York University
hospital. In between shifts, I lit candles in memory of lost Americans.
always wanted to help people. He earned a bachelors degree
in English from State University of New YorkOneonta with
plans to teach. He quickly realized four years of college does
not necessarily provide students with the tools to instill lifelong
learning in others.
needed more education. After my cousin Vinnie graduated from law
school, my mother said, Billy you are a great talker, go
to law school.
chose not to seek a career in law eventually because I saw no
quality time with people, he said.
was admitted to the Nursing Schools second-degree program
in September 2000. The two-year program offers a special bachelor
of science in nursing degree for non-nurses with at least a bachelors
degree in another area.
graduation, he will have completed his two-year educational leave
from the military. He then plans to complete active duty at the
Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington.
by firefighters and others at Ground Zero in New York and
supportive faculty and staff at U.Va. Foronjy plans to
return to U.Va. to pursue a nursing career.
a nurse, I am interested in more than financial gains. I am interested
in physical and emotional growth and improvement of health.