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October 6, 2001
Copyright © 2001 THE NEW YORK TIMES. All Rights Reserved.


She Loved to Laugh

Anna Medina had 10 brothers and sisters, perhaps 60 nieces and nephews, and the circle of grief is even wider if you count the cousins, aunts, uncles and friends in Brooklyn and her native Puerto Rico. But those she held closest were her 11-year-old son, Leonardo Acosta, and her mother, Monserrate Gonzalez, 87, with whom she lived in Park Slope.

"She loved dancing and salsa; she loved to laugh," Yvonne Mendez said, recalling two decades of friendship. "She had such a good sense of humor. And she was a strong woman. If she had problems, she never showed them. But she was really dedicated to her mother and her son. That's what she lived for."

Ms. Medina, separated from the boy's father, had cheered all summer at her son's baseball games, and recently organized a barbecue for 35 family members in Prospect Park for her mother's birthday. On Sept. 11, she arrived at Aon Consulting, an insurance company on the 101st floor of 2 World Trade Center where she was an administrative assistant, at 8:30 a.m., a half- hour early, as was her habit.

She would have been 40 years old today. Her family had planned a surprise party, but will gather instead at a small Pentecostal church she attended. "She was so kind and generous," a brother, Freddy Medina, said. "We will pray for her soul."


Filling In for a Co-Worker

Eliezer Jimenez Jr. was supposed to be on vacation that week, but his bosses at Windows on the World called him at home on Sunday, and asked if he would fill in that week for someone else. "My son was such a good worker, of course he said he would do it," said his father, Eliezer Jimenez.

The younger Mr. Jimenez had worked as a chef's assistant at the restaurant for less than two years. He had begun working there part time, his father said, while he worked at another restaurant in Midtown, because he needed the money to support his four children. When the other restaurant closed down, Mr. Jimenez went to work at Windows full time.

When he was not working, Mr. Jimenez, 37, was usually at his Disciples of Christ church. When he was 6, his mother died while giving birth. His father moved with his three sons to Puerto Rico, and they returned to New York a few years later. The younger Mr. Jimenez lived in Washington Heights with his wife and children. "He was my son, my friend, my everything," Mr. Jimenez said. "He was my firstborn. They have stolen him from me."


Too Proud Not to Work

Daniel Lugo's asthma was acting up, and his physician had detected the advent of prostate cancer and was debating the most effective course of treatment. Everybody gave him the same advice: leave his job as a Summit security guard at the World Trade Center and concentrate on getting healthy. But Mr. Lugo, 45, didn't listen.

Instead, he switched from the night to the day shift on Sept. 10 and asked his supervisors to give him lobby duty rather than the usual spot shifts throughout the towers. That was his only concession to his iffy health. He told his sister Eneida Lugo that he had no intention of dozing on the living room sofa collecting disability: "I'm a man," he said. "I need to work."

She cannot remember a time when he wasn't industrious on all fronts: back in Puerto Rico, their mother had taught him to cook, clean and fend for himself. A bachelor until a few years ago, when he met his wife, Olga, at a Pentecostal church in Upper Manhattan where he served as a pastor, Mr. Lugo kept up with his mother's lessons. "He even did his own laundry," Ms. Lugo said. "He was taught that you don't depend on anybody else."

But anybody could depend on him, his sister said.


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