When Jim Traynor, 53, exchanged wedding vows with Cori Torres, 48, last November in Astoria, N.Y., they honored more than their commitment to one another. They celebrated a love that rose from the ashes of the World Trade Center after Sept. 11, 2001.
Jim serviced machinery used to clean up the tons of debris left behind when terrorists destroyed the twin towers in New York City.
Cori is a chiropractor who donated her medical services at nearby St. Paul’s Chapel, where ground zero recovery workers were offered food, rest and medical attention 24 hours a day.
“There were so many people suffering physically, digging out the rubble,” Cori says. “Jim was one of the many workers who came to me.”
Jim suffered from chronic back pain due to his grueling 12-hour shifts, seven days a week. Initially, his conversations with Cori centered on chiropractic care but, little by little, expanded to other topics.
“He'd hang out after his adjustment, sitting nearby while I worked,” Cori recalls. Later, they began chatting on the phone and meeting for lunch.
“For me, it was love at first sight,” says Jim, adding that he initially kept his feelings secret because of the demands of working at ground zero.
By May 2002, when recovery and cleanup operations were drawing to a close, Cori realized that she, too, had developed deep feelings for Jim. The pair declared their mutual affection, began dating and married last Nov. 19 in their living room, where they were surrounded by family and friends.
“We waited until the moment was perfect,” Cori says. “At our wedding, we had the minister say, 'Out of one of the greatest human tragedies came this special love.' It felt right.”