THE SIRIUS COURAGE AWARD
On September 11, 2011, the first Sirius Courage Award was presented to Lt. David W. Lim, a police officer with the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, in honor of his partner, K9 “Sirius.” Lt. Lim and “Sirius,” a yellow Labrador Retriever Explosives Detection K9 were on duty in the World Trade Center on 9/11. K9 “Sirius,” was killed in the attack – the only professional working K9 to give his life in the line of duty during the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America.
The second two Sirius Courage Awards were presented that same day by Lt. Lim, posthumously to the family of SGT. Zainah Caye Creamer, and to the family of Petty Officer First Class John Douangdara.
SGT. Creamer was a military working dog handler. On January 12, 2011, she was killed in Afghanistan by an IED. SGT. Creamer is the first woman military dog handler to be killed in action during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Petty Officer Douangdara and his K9, “Bart,” assigned to SEAL Team 6, were killed on August 6, 2011 in a crash of their helicopter in Afghanistan along with 29 other American service members.
Among other recipients of the Sirius Courage Award include: Army SPC. Andrew Brown and his military working dog, “Rocky,” who were both seriously injured by an IED; both survived; and David Kontny, received the inaugural lifetime achievement Sirius Courage Award for lifelong service to our military and civilian national security K9 teams.
Statement of Lt. David Lim to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, March 31, 2003
I am a Police Officer in the employ of the Port Authority of NY & NJ. I have been such for the greater part of the last 23 years. On Sept. 11th, 2001, our Police Department suffered the greatest single day loss in Law Enforcement history @ the World Trade Center. 37 Officers from every rank (Superintendent to Police Officer) as well as my partner, explosive detector K-9 Sirius were killed in the attack. Many would ask what the PAPD was doing in the World Trade Center. A little known fact was that we were always there. Since the Port Authority owned the buildings, we (the Police) were responsible for the public safety therein. We were there in 93′ as well as on 9/11. We were in fact the first responders to this tragedy & in conjunction with the NYPD, FDNY, EMS & other Emergency Service Units actively participated in the greatest rescue effort this city had ever seen.
On that fateful day, my job was checking vehicles that were entering the WTC Truck Dock for possible explosives. At about 0830hrs, I was in my office/kennel on the B-1 level #2WTC. About 15minutes later, I felt the bldg shake. I left Sirius in his kennel & responded to the mezzanine of #1 WTC to assist people coming out of the “A” stairwell. I saw bodies falling onto the Plaza & realized that I was needed on the upper floors. I proceeded up the stars giving encouragement & calming the fears of the people coming down. Those that were seriously injured I assigned to healthy personnel, directing them to the triage area. On the 27th floor, I met a man in a wheelchair with a friend. They were waiting for the crowd to clear before attempting a descent. I left them with FDNY personnel & proceeded up the “B” stairwell. This switch of stairwells later proved to be my lifesaving decision. Upon my arrival on the 44th floor, I started evacuating those on the floor towards my stairway. I heard an explosion & as I looked to my left, a fireball blew out the windows, knocking us to the ground. I knew now that we were under attack & proceeded down the stairway with my people. On the way down, we cleared floors of any remaining employees. On or about the 35th floor, I felt the bldg shake & thought that my tower was collapsing. I then heard on my Police radio that #2 World Trade Center had collapsed & we were ordered to evacuate Tower #1. We kept going down & met up with Chief Romito, Capt Mazza & Lieut.Cirri. They were assisted an injured male on the 21st floor. I advised my supervisors of the order to evacuate & we all kept descending the staircase. On the way down, we were losing our lights & could feel the bldg falling apart.
When we arrived @ the 5th floor, that’s where I met Josephine Harris & Ladder Co #6 (FDNY). I stopped to help her & got as far as the 4th floor when the bldg started to collapse on us. The sound was akin to an onrushing avalanche with the floors above us pancakeing down. When the noise stopped, I was very lucky to still be alive. Josephine, 12 firefighters & myself were the only ones left alive in that stairwell.
After about 5 hours, we managed to find our way out by an opening on the 6th floor. The devastation around us unimaginable. We somehow had survived in a small “air pocket”.
Ladder Co #43 assisted us out of the wreckage. We crossed the debris field first towards Vesey St. (north) & then after being turned back by fire & exploding ammunition (US Customs House #6 WTC) we went west towards West. St.
When we finally emerged, we turned to view the devastation & were struck by the total destruction of the World Trade Center complex.
I grieve for many friends that I lost that day. I grieve for all those that I didn’t know. I also grieve for the best partner I ever had.
David W. Lim