110910120804_WellesCrowtherAs a young boy, Welles was taught two things – carry a red bandana in your back pocket to blow your nose, and carry a white one in your front pocket for show.

On 9/11, Welles would be remembered for his red bandana, but Welles would be also be remembered for these red words that Jesus spoke, “No one shows greater love than when he lays down his life for his friends” (John 15:13 NIV).

On 9/11, at the age of 24, Welles R. Crowther was working for Wall Street in the south tower of the World Trade Center. After the news came that the north tower had been struck, Welles and many others who worked in the tower waited to evacuate the building on the 78th floor by the elevators.

What happened next, no person expected. A plane came through the ceiling. Witnesses say when they opened their eyes, many lay dead or badly wounded around them. But then out of nowhere, a man wearing a red bandana around his face came onto the floor, yelling: “I found the stairs. Follow me. Help the one that you can help.”

When they got to safer ground, the man with the red bandana chose to go back up the fallen tower, running 18 floors to help others. More eye witnesses testify that he came onto the floor once again, administering aid to the wounded and instructing people around him saying, “If you can help others, do so.”

As Welles was attending to the needs of others, the south tower collapsed.

“No one shows greater love than when he lays down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13 NIV)

When I first heard Welles story in 2011, it wasn’t the red bandana that I remembered, it was these words that stuck out and have clung to my heart ever since.

Follow me. Help the one that you can help.

Who does that remind you of? Christ.

I am so challenged by Welles actions and words. I have been asking myself these questions: How will I follow Jesus to help the one that I can help? What will I lay down in my life for a friend, a loved-one, or even an enemy?

So often we have mental blinders of how we see ourselves helping others. We think it has to be tangible, financial, or physically taxing. But many times what people need is simple: time, encouragement, a smile, and a hug. Those things are all free.
God gave you passions, gifts, and talents that others do not have. Be brave and use them!

To Welles R. Crowther and all the heroes of 9/11 we honor you on this day, September 11, 2014. Your memory and your challenge to help others lives on. Thank you!

Follow me. Help the one that you can help.