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Monday, January 24, 2022

Activities & Organizations

Man’s best friend fosters trust in others


Visiting speaker Michael Hingson, who was invited to the University Jan. 29 by the Council of Ethnic Organizations, proved that one doesn’t have to be able-bodied — or even human — to help those in need. Hingson, along with his guide dog Roselle, led a group of co-workers out of the World Trade Center during 9/11.

Hingson used the events of the 9/11 attacks as a basis for the two overall messages “it is possible to put your faith in other human beings” and “the world is changing, and we have to change with it.”

Hingson said that individuals had a preconceived notion of the blind and emphasized the importance of trusting others as, ultimately, what helped him and his co-workers reach the first floor from the 78th of Tower One of the World Trade Center. But overall, Hingson’s speech was not about humans trusting one another, nor was it about 9/11; it was about the trust between his guide dog, Roselle, and him.

When the tower started tipping and his colleagues were panicking, he stayed calm because Roselle was calm. He trusted her to lead him out of the building to safety. After seeing how sure he was of himself, his co-workers trusted him to get them out of the building.

When asked what thoughts were running through his head while the events were unfolding, he said, “I was too busy encouraging Roselle to think about what was happening.”

Hingson did not talk about how he helped those people to safety himself; he said it was the mere fact that everyone worked together that allowed them to exit the building to safety.

“I really liked the speech he gave,” said broadcast journalism junior Christina Caballero. “I thought it was cool how he didn’t talk about himself helping everybody. He put it perspective for the audience. Everybody trusted each other and put their own thoughts aside to work together and get to their ultimate goal — to live.”

Hingson said the biggest handicap of being blind was a lack of information. He said that if he had been given accurate information of what was going on while trying to leave the World Trade Center, he might have made different decisions. He said he always wondered whether he would have done anything differently.

Hingson ended his speech with a quote from his New York Times bestseller “Thunder Dog,” which he wrote after the events of 9/11.

“Don’t let your sight get in the way of your vision,” he said.

Roselle passed away in 2011 and was posthumously awarded the 2011 American Hero Dog. She and another guide dog, Salty, received numerous other awards for assisting their owners during 9/11, including the Dickin Medal for British charity from the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals.

“Both dogs handled themselves with tremendous courage and devotion,” said a spokeswoman for the British Guide Dogs for the Blind Association in a 2002 BBC article. “We are extremely proud of them.”

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