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Age
42
Community
Putnam Lake
Company
New York City Fire Department (FDNY)
Position
Firefighter Rescue 3
Where Died
World Trade Center
Christopher Blackwell

Unlike some 9/11 widows, Jane Blackwell didn't wait long after losing her husband, FDNY Firefighter Christopher Blackwell, to get their three children back into a routine.

"I tried to keep things as normal and consistent as possible," she said. "That meant going back to school and getting involved in sports."

She attended as many of her children's school and sporting events as possible. She was able to do this with the help of family, including her father, John Scott of New Fairfield, Conn., who acted as a de facto chauffeur, carting his grandchildren - Alexandra, Ryan and Samantha - to whatever events their mother couldn't attend.

"I had a lot of family support," she said. "A lot."

She also did her best to make her children's friends welcome in her home. That way, she knew where her children were and that they weren't getting into trouble.

Ten years later, Alexandra, 25, is a police officer at a coastal Connecticut town; Ryan, 23, is New York City Fire Department EMT with plans to follow in his father's footsteps and become a firefighter; and Samantha, 21, is a college student with plans for a career in health care.

Jane, who was once an EMT, said she's not surprised her children are taking after their father with careers in public service and helping people.

Like many 9/11 widows who were left with young children, she said she didn't have any choice but to put every ounce of her strength into raising her children. That's why when friends and acquaintances tell Jane, 50, what a remarkable job she's done raising her children, it's the best compliment they can pay her.

"I had a job to do - I had a promise to keep - and I did my best," she said.

It didn't hurt, she said, that her three children seemed to sense the seriousness of the situation and grew up quickly. When the children turned 16, they got part-time jobs. If they wanted a car, they worked for it and bought it. Their father never spoiled them, and their mother wasn't going to either, she said.

"I think my mom did a good job with us," Samantha said.

Jane said it doesn't seem like 10 years since 9/11. The first year went by agonizingly slowly, but the subsequent nine years flew by, she said.

Alexandra has applied to read the names of the deceased at Ground Zero on the 10th anniversary, so her mother said the family will go there on 9/11 and visit her husband's firehouse, Rescue Unit 3 in the Bronx, where they'll likely share a meal with the firefighters.

Each year as the 9/11 anniversary approaches, Jane gets calls from friends and family and they get together to be with her and her children. She expects the same will happen this year but thinks that, maybe, it will be the last time.

"We get together each year but I want to tell them that we don't have to do it next year. A call or a text to let me know you're thinking of us will be fine," she said. "We'll never forget what happened on 9/11 but I want everyone to know that it's OK - that we're OK."

- Terence Corcoran
View and sign victim's guest book
 

Details
Blackwell was a 25-year member of the New Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department, joining Company A at age 16.
Family
Wife, Jane Scott Blackwell; children, Alexandra, Ryan and Samantha.
 

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