Sunday 22 October 2017

Lay of the Land: The American dream of Frank De Martini

He immediately helped evacuate his floor, before accompanying his wife down 88 flights of stairs. Then he and a co-worker, Pablo Ortiz, went back into the tower.
He immediately helped evacuate his floor, before accompanying his wife down 88 flights of stairs. Then he and a co-worker, Pablo Ortiz, went back into the tower.

Fiona O'Connell

Third-level students from this country town are well ensconced back on college campuses. Many spent the summer in America, courtesy of the J-1 Visa, which has long been a legendary rite of passage. Maybe that's why I'm thinking of my old pal, Dermot, this eve of the 16th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. He, too, took the J-1 path to the 'Big Apple', back in the day, where he worked on building sites for a Frank De Martini.

That magical name stayed with me till it rang a bell, many years later, when I was watching a documentary on the Twin Towers. But back in those relatively innocent days, Frank De Martini was the dream boss that Dermot met by chance, after an Irish girl working in an employment agency gave him a tip for a job as a carpenter's helper.

"The place was a mess, so I cleaned it up. Frank came in and exclaimed: 'God almighty! This is exactly what I want! I mean, I can't think unless a place is exactly like this!' I'm the same so we hit it off immediately," says Dermot.

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