Unit 4 – Biography: Norma Hardy

Norma Hardy is a Captain in the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey Police Department. During the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 she played an important role evacuating people who were underground and dangerously close to the bomb explosion site. On the morning of September 11th, her mother called her at home and told her a plane had hit the World Trade Center. Norma looked out her window and saw the same sight many people in New York and New Jersey saw – smoke pouring out of upper levels of the Twin Towers. Norma realized that the region was under attack and she rushed to work.

As she was going through the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel from Brooklyn to Manhattan, it filled with smoke. Scared, she kept going and emerged from the tunnel into the horrific setting of the World Trade Center neighborhood. Norma parked her car and starting walking towards the street where the Port Authority Police Department was mobilizing. She was in shock. Norma stayed with the hundreds of other rescue workers who poured into Lower Manhattan and worked at the site all day looking for victims and hoping to hear news about her missing co-workers.

She worked on the bucket brigades, long lines of people who searched the enormous field of steel and pulverized material inch by inch. Over the next few days, she was very moved by the spirit of cooperation at the site and the hundreds of volunteers who came to support the recovery workers. Norma has kept the memory of her 37 colleagues alive by talking about them and working closely with others who continue to help transform the World Trade Center site.

Norma was brought in to work at the site again in 2002 to boost morale with her positive spirit. She stayed until 2008 when she was promoted to Captain. In her spare time Norma mentors young women in law enforcement. She also works with regional programs to promote education and opportunity for teens. In March of 2009, Norma received the Black Achievers in Industry Award – she was the first person in law enforcement to receive this prestigious honor.