Thursday, October 25, 2012
High-powered exec became homeless after 9/11, then God sent angels to rescue her
By Mark Ellis
Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (ANS) -- She was one of only two African-American women working in the executive ranks of Kemper Insurance at their offices in the World Trade Center. The fiery ordeal of 9/11 unhinged her mind to such an extent that doctors said she would never work again – but God had other plans.
“My job was very stressful and I was very important to my group as director of operations,” says Leslie Haskin. “I helped determine the strategic direction of the company.”
She admits she was not a nice person in those days. The nickname used behind her back was “ice princess,” partly due to her frosty attitude and because she insisted underlings get to the point within three minutes on any issue they brought to her.
She was the youngest of 15 children raised in Chicago by her father, a minister, and mother, a choir director. When she left Chicago for New York, she turned her back on her upbringing.
“I wanted no part of God or church or my family because of their strong religious faith,” she recalls. “There is a difference between being a believer and a follower of Jesus Christ,” she notes. “I had no love for Him.”
At 8:46 a.m. on September 11, she talked with her assistant next to a large window on the 37th floor of the North Tower – the first building hit. “I felt an incredible explosion that engaged all my senses,” Haskin says. ‘I felt it, smelled it, and heard it. It was a huge event.”
Even though she was many floors away from the crucible of fire and destruction in the impact zone, she and her coworkers grasped the dangers immediately. “Ceilings were collapsing and you could see fire through the seams. The building swayed back and forth and never righted itself. There were explosions everywhere,” she recounts.
As Haskin and her coworker looked out the window, they saw papers, furniture and bodies plunging to the ground, banging against the building as they fell.
An underwriting director ran through the office yelling, “The building is coming down; the building is coming down!”
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