A Promise Kept: Commitment to World Trade Center Identification

Tuesday September 14th, 2021 // 9:20 am - 10:15 am // Fiesta Ballroom

The 20th Anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks marks a moment in the history of the United States like no other.  The attacks cast a shadow over American life and defined the new century and a war on terror.  The aftermath of these attacks was not confined to weeks or months but continues today.  Our presentation will walk along the hardship and perseverance through the eyes of the team and families of the victims.  This commitment to identify all of those who lost their lives has not wavered.


The work of the New York City’s Office of Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) over the last two decades to return loved ones has pushed the limits of forensic science.  These efforts have both transformed and humbled the agency.  The audience will be taken through the graphic events from the initial response that morning to how it shaped the work worldwide today, a true demonstration on how challenge and failure lead to growth.


From the very beginning, families of the 9/11 victims came together to console one another, and organizations formed to provide the support that was needed to help them heal.  One such organization, Voices Center for Resilience, (VOICES) provides long-term support and resources that promote mental health care and wellness for victims’ families, responders, and survivors, while extending their efforts to assist communities in recovering from other tragedies.  Like the OCME, they remain committed to use their expertise to help beyond the work of 9/11.


Supporting each other, both dedicated organizations continue the mission while remembering the past, a special relationship between government and the people they serve.



Private: Mark Desire

Assistant Director, New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner

Mark Desire is an Assistant Director with the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner. He works in the Department of Forensic Biology, New York City’s DNA crime lab and the largest of its kind in North America. During his 24 years of employment, he has investigated thousands of criminal and missing persons cases. He is the manager of the World Trade Center DNA Identification Team, a unit dedicated to advancing the science and helping return loved ones to their families.

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Private: Mary Fetchet

Executive Director and President, Voices Center for Resilience

Mary Fetchet is the driving force behind VOICES, a non-profit organization she co-founded in 2001 following the death of her 24 year old son Brad at the World Trade Center. Her unique background as a mother of a victim, along with over 20 years of expertise as a clinical social worker, influenced VOICES innovative approach in providing long-term support services and promoting resiliency in the lives of victims' families, responders and survivors.

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