Local first responders reflect on how 9/11 changed their lives, careers

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GRAFTON, W.Va. (WDTV) -- Grafton Police Officer Cole Durrett was 10 years old and lived in Iowa in 2001.

First responders from Taylor County shared their memories of 9/11 and how it has changed their lives.

He remembers watching TV after the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center and seeing the second plane hit the South Tower.

"That's when everything changed for everybody," Durrett said.

He was one of several local first responders who shared their memories about that day with 5 News.

Boothsville VFD Deputy Chief Monica Rouzee was at home with her two-year-old son during the attack.

He now serves alongside her with the fire department.

As first responders, Rouzee said the reminder of the terrorist attacks keeps them on edge when they're out in the field.

"It makes us even more cautious and scared when we're going out on a call," Rouzee said. "You have to think of all the possibilities. What could this be? You think of the worst and hope for the best."

Taylor County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Randy Durrett has been with the department since 1989. He was on a fishing trip when the news broke.

"You experience shock, then anger, and you're worried about family members and if there are going to be other attacks," Durrett said. "You just try and do what you can to protect your country."

He said in the immediate aftermath of the attack, police were more vigilant, specifically at the Tygart Dam. Patrols were increased there to prevent any possible water supply attacks.

Cole Durrett said the anniversary of the attack weighs on first responders as a reminder of the dangers the job presents.

"Every call we go to has the potential to be dangerous," Durrett said. "You keep that in the back of your mind, but at the same time, it makes you proud to be an American; The way everybody came together and handled that incident is the same way we need to come together and handle every incident."