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Aftermath of Terrorism

Former Kivalliq nurse killed during attack in New York

NNSL photo

Former Kivalliq nurse Christine Egan, second from left, during happier times with friends Rosemary Brown, Nuri Sinuff and Sue Pauhl, from left, in Rankin Inlet. Egan lost her life during the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. - photo courtesy of Rosemary Brown

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Rankin Inlet (Oct 03/01) - The Kivalliq region wasn't without its tragedies when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in New York City.

Chris Egan, originally from England, was well known as a nurse in the region, having worked in both Rankin Inlet and Coral Harbour.

Egan had a brother who worked on the 105th floor of the World Trade Center.

She was visiting with him on the morning of Sept. 11.

They were among the thousands who never made it out of the building.

Rosemary Brown, a capital planning advisor for the Department of Health and Social Services in Rankin Inlet, met Egan in 1981 when she was the nurse in charge at Coral Harbour.

After a number of years, Egan left the Kivalliq to pursue an anthropology degree.

She returned to the region in the late '90s for a short stint sharing the nurse manager position in Rankin, before taking a job in research and education with the former Keewatin Regional Health Board.

Brown says Egan also did a great deal of work in the research wing of the J.A. Ildes Northern Medical Unit in Winnipeg.

Ildes was one of the first doctors to visit the Kivalliq and helped create a division of the University of Manitoba in the 1950s which did outreach programs to northern Manitoba and the Kivalliq.

"Chris has been referred to as someone with a $1-million smile and that's exactly how you knew her," says Brown.

"She was a very upbeat person who would literally give you the shirt off her back if it would help you.

"Chris anticipated the needs of others and was a real pleasure to work with."

Brown says the tragedy of what happened at the World Trade Center was shocking and surreal.

"Knowing someone who died in the tragedy left me feeling raw and fragile inside.

"Life will never quite be the same. This event dashed everyone's sense of security."

Call for retribution

The news was better for others in the Kivalliq region with friends and family in the New York area.

James Howard of Rankin Inlet is originally from the Manhattan borough of New York City where the World Trade Center was located.

Howard still has friends and family in Manhattan, living in the area of 155th Street and 8th Avenue.

It took three days of trying after the Sept. 11 attacks before Howard received any news on his loved ones.

"I have an aunt and cousins still in Manhattan and, as far as friends go, everybody I grew up with still lives there," says Howard.

"Watching the disaster on TV, wondering if any of my family or friends were in there was tough.

"Not knowing was tough, but feeling helpless was the hardest part."

As events unfolded, Howard was dealing with a sense of utter devastation, as a terrible anger began to well up inside him.

"Once I did get through, and found out everybody was OK, it was just an incredible feeling of relaef, like this anvil of weight came off of my body.

"What I feel inside now is complete rage and I feel retribution is needed.

"That's all I'll say."

- This is the second of a two-part special report on the U.S. terrorist attacks and those affected with ties to the Kivalliq.