Four months later: HME provider aims for normalcy

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Monday, December 31, 2001

NEW YORK CITY - Three months after terrorists flew two jetliners into the World Trade Center, business is slowly returning to normal for Milton Past, but his life will never be the same.

Past (not his real name) manages Baron Hospital Medical Supply, only one mile from ground zero and possibly the HME closest to the World Trade Center.

In late August, Past's brother suffered what appears to have been a heart attack while sightseeing in New Hampshire's White Mountains. It took rescuers almost two days to find him.

Then on Sept. 11 terrorists attacked the World Trade Center.

"I was still under this unbelievable grief and this happened," he said. "It was difficult to absorb."

On Sept. 11, thousands of people streamed past Baron's Delancey Street location on their way to Brooklyn. One guy rushed in and asked to use the phone. He wanted to let his wife know he was OK. Past closed the shop at 1 p.m. The phones didn't work properly and the company's trucks couldn't make deliveries. There was nothing to do but join the teeming masses that had turned Delancey Street into a virtual boardwalk, Past said. HME

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