Rich Zeoli's Father Recalls 9/11 Recovery Effort: 'We Were Not Going to Leave Ground Zero' Until Everybody Was Found

The Rich Zeoli Show
September 11, 2019 - 12:28 pm

PHILADELPHIA (1210 WPHT)- The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 brought out the best in America's police officers. The heroism stretched to retired officers, including Ret. Port Authority Police Department Lieutenant Tony Zeoli.

Zeoli told The Rich Zeoli Show about how he became involved with the recovery mission following the collapse of the World Trade Center.

 "We were all retired at the time. Actually, we had two active-duty cops that were on medical restriction that were with us," Zeoli recalled. "And we had been retired, so they used the 'R' as Recovery Team Romeo, the 'Romeo' signifying we were retired guys."  

According to Zeoli, his team was there for the long-haul.

 "They gave us new uniforms, new ID cards, and we went to work and we stayed there until the last day out, which was May 30, 2002," Zeoli said.  "Each man on my team put in approximately 2,000 hours of our time. And we were never paid. We never wanted to be paid. We were never compensated. It was something that had to be done."

Zeoli said he and his team of 12 officers had one goal in mind as they sifted through the rubble of the Twin Towers.

 "We had a meeting with the 12 of us in Recover Team Romeo and we decided that we were not going to leave Ground Zero until we brought the souls of everybody that was lost back to their families,"  Zeoli recalled.  "We never realized in a million years...that we would not be able to find most of those people. There's still 1,100 that have not been found or identified. It's so sad, but it is what it is today."

Listen to the full interview below.