Life is precious and so is each person that we lost in the 9/11 tragedy.
I would like to tell you about Neil Levin:
In early 2001, New York Gov. Pataki and then New Jersey Gov. Donald DiFrancesco named Levin as the Executive Director of the Port Authority. In this role he was the chief executive officer of the agency which runs the World Trade Center, various bridges and tunnels around New York City, the three airports in the New York City area, the seaports in New York and New Jersey, and various international trade programs. Levin was executive director for five months before his death.
Levin was married to broadcast journalist Christine Ferer. Ferer became New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s liaison to 9/11 families and has been named by Pataki to the Port Authority Board of Commissioners. She and mayor met with family members at private viewing site for relatives at World Trade Center site
Pataki announced that the 65th school in the State University of New York system has been named the Neil D. Levin Graduate Institute of International Relations and Commerce.
In the public and corporate arenas, Neil Levin was a successful businessman and political leader.
He had risen to Vice President in Goldman Sachs and had worked with Senator Al D’Amato.
People trusted and respected Neil. He was a caring leader, a professional with good values and a wonderful person.
Neil is also my first cousin. When I was a small boy, my Mom took me to visit my older cousins, Neil and his brother, Stan in Long Island. They were both great athletes and very popular. I still remember the first time I met Neil. He sincerely took an interest in me and threw the football with me and talked with me. I could feel he cared. I was just a little kid and most people didn’t really take the time to get to know me, but my cousin Neil did. He made a difference in my life.
I always looked forward to seeing Neil and visiting his parents, Morty and Gloria Levin. Neil’s parents are also special people. They have the same huge, caring heart. Years later I played high school football like my cousins and Morty came to see me play and I always felt I had a friend. I still remember the football cheer he taught me and to this day, Gloria is close friends with my Mom. I am so thankful to have Neil as my cousin, because at a time when I needed a friend, God blessed me with Neil. All of us could use a little help in those early years growing up as we try to figure out what life is all about. As a matter of fact, we all could use a little help now….
This world is a better place because of Neil and the contributions he made to his family, friends and community. People are the greatest resource in the world and Neil is one of the best. To me, he is always in my heart cheering me on.
That fateful morning on 9/11 Neil was at his post. He was in a meeting in Windows on the World in the Trade Center. We never heard from him again once the planes hit the building. There is a song that says, “the good they die young, Abraham, Martin and John.”
9/11 has a sweet sadness for me, because Neil was doing what he did best, helping people and then he was gone. With the 10 year anniversary approaching, it is important for us to acknowledge, recognize and appreciate the wonderful people we loved and lost in this tragedy. Our lives are better because of their blessings. The world is a better place. So remember the good things, because we are fortunate to have received these gifts and it is for us to share them and pass them on to others.
Sometimes it’s the smallest act of kindness that makes a huge difference in people’s lives. The way that I felt when Neil took an interest in me and spent some time with me that day…..just having a football catch and talking…..it was my “Field of Dreams.”
“Little things don’t mean a lot, they mean everything.”
The best thing we can all do now is be the best we can be, live the best life possible and make this world a better place. This is what my friend Neil Levin would say…..
The Mega Coach