Five days at ground zero.
That's what Dr. Howard Lamley of Hood River started facing Tuesday.
Lamley, a mental health counselor, rushed Monday to catch an evening flight to New York -- packing his bags with less than hour to go -- in order to provide grief counseling to victims of the Sept. 11 terrorism in New York City.
"I'm excited to be going and represent the state and at the same time I know it's going to be a challenge to help people with their coping."
He will work with survivors, including firefighters and police officers, with "survivor grief and guilt." He said there are strong feelings inside people who escaped death when friends and loved ones perished.
Asked how he anticipates helping survivors, Lamley said, "Restoring a sense of security. There's a loss of the sense of security as a result of the devastation," Lamley said.
Lamley has been a counselor for the past 12 years. He currently works at Norcor for Mid-Columbia Center for Living.
Lamley has had to act fast, after getting a pager message Monday morning. The call to serve came Saturday from National Organization of Victims Advocates, via the Oregon Attorney General's office, and was confirmed Monday morning after NOVA received a formal invitation from New York authorities. Lamley will be part of a crisis response team formed by NOVA.
On one hour's notice, he received donations of supplies and food from local businesses. Shortt Supply gave a sleeping bag and rescue clothing, Heights Shell provided gasoline, Wal-Mart provided emergency food for Lamley's entire team, Wy'east Grocery donated food, and Hood River County Sheriff's Department donated rescue clothing. Lamley is a reserve deputy with the Sheriff's Department and he serves on the Hood River County Crisis Response Team. When he confirmed his departure with his work supervisors he was asked if he understood he would have to take vacation time for his mission.
"I told them I was happy to use vacation time. I said, 'I'm going. I need to go'," Lamley said.
"I'm really looking forward to it, but also I'm not," said Lamley of the trauma and devastation he will face in his work in Manhattan.