Gander, Newfoundland is a town of only about 10,000 people but they responded in a big way, coming to the aid of the more than 6,500 stranded airline passengers on September 11, 2001. Austinite Kevin Tuerff says, for him, experiencing that kindness and generosity was life-changing.
“There were hundreds of volunteers and food everywhere,” Tuerff says. “And they had what we wanted most – we had not seen the images of the planes flying into the World Trade Center. It was the first time I’d ever experienced where I had to rely on the kindness of a stranger to help me.”
Tuerff went back to Gander on the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks. There, he met a couple working on a musical about the experiences of the airline passengers and the folks in Gander who helped them. That musical is now a Tony-nominated Broadway show: “Come From Away.”
“And what’s unbelievable is that I have a doppelgänger,” Tuerff says. “There’s someone who plays me on the stage.”
Tuerff has also written a book about his experience. It’s called “Channel of Peace: Stranded in Gander on 9/11.”