Red Bandana Project Extends Legacy of Compassion
Welles Crowther always loved hanging around the fire station, though he chose a career in the financial industry. A former NCAA lacrosse player, Crowther worked as an equities trader in the World Trade Center. In the end, his passion for helping others and saving lives led to his tragic--and heroic--death.
Now, the legacy of the young man from Nyack, New York, known for carrying a red bandanna at all times, is being spread as an example of playing fair and helping others.
On Sept. 11, 2001, Crowther was at his desk high up in the south tower of the World Trade Center when a jet crashed into the north tower. Minutes later, as hundreds of workers were gathered around elevators on the 78th floor preparing to evacuate, a second jet struck that tower, creating chaos.
“All of a sudden we saw a young man come out of nowhere, we heard this man’s voice say, ‘I’ve found the stairs, follow me and only help the one you can help,’ “ 9/11 survivor Ling Young told ESPN. “It was the way he said it. We just got up and followed.”
Crowther led evacuees from the 78th floor to the 61st floor, where they met firefighters and were escorted to safety. Crowther, though, turned back to the stairs, returning to the 78th floor to aid other workers in evacuating.
After Crowther had led another party down and returned to the fiery scene again, the south tower collapsed. He is credited with saving at least a dozen people.
Crowther’s story was featured in an ESPN documentary in 2011 that won an Emmy Award. His life story and the film are key components of a curriculum that creates opportunities for learning about love and forgiveness. Developed by the Welles Remy Crowther Charitable Trust, which was founded by Welles' family, the curriculum will be shared with K-12 students and athletes.
This is a project of the Fetzer Advisory Council on Sport & Embodied Spiritual Practice.