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Note: Original New York Times version published on 09-20-2001 is titled "CHANGED LIVES; Religious Leader Takes His Calling to Ground Zero."

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Original article webbed in several places, including here , here, and here.

St. Petersburg Times 09-21-2001

More re: John Carmichael

EXCERPTED FROM

The New York Times

VOL. CLI.            THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2001

AMERICA RESPONDS

Scientologists play
large role in cleanup

NEW YORK -- Amid faces gray with grief and grime, theirs are fresh, even smiling. Among blackened uniforms and sooty equipment, their yellow T-shirts are bright buoys. They are clean.

At any time, well over 100 volunteer ministers from the Church of Scientology mill around the remains of the World Trade Center. On the day of the attack, they took in food to workers. Since then, they have taken the techniques developed by the church's founder, L. Ron Hubbard.

When rescue workers stagger from the wreckage, the ministers, identified by their T-shirts, try to focus the workers' minds and revive their bodies. In "locationals," workers are told to look at the sky, or at water bottles on a table - anything to ground them in the present, the outside world, rather than the horror within the rubble.

"They bring people back, so to speak, so they are in control of their mind and environment," said the Rev. John Carmichael, 54, the president of the Church of Scientology of New York. "You want to help get rid of the fatigue and the fuzziness."

The volunteer corps of ministers has been active in disasters - from earthquakes in Los Angeles to the bombings in Oklahoma City and Atlanta - since 1988. But the disaster this time far surpasses those in scale. At least 800 ministers have cycled through the scene, many coming from Quebec, Florida or California.

[photo] [photo caption: Rev. John Carmichael, President of the Church of Scientology of New York on West Street near Chambers.

On Wednesday, Carmichael's 19-year-old son manned the busy front desk at the church's building on 46th Street. Signs proclaimed it a " Disaster Relief Headquarters" and encouraged volunteers to ask how they could help.

Though many religious organizations are supplying assistance for the disaster, few are as well-organized as the Scientologists, or as evident at the scene. When many volunteers were asked to clear out over the weekend, the Scientologists were allowed to stay, working alongside groups like the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.

When he drove down to the site on Tuesday, Carmichael said, a police officer waved him through. "You're a Scientologist," he recalled the officer saying. "You're good."

[Box:] Though many religious organizations are supplying assistance for the disaster, few are as well-organized as the Scientologists, or as evident at the scene. When many volunteers were asked to clear out over the weekend, the Scientologists were allowed to stay, working alongside groups like the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.

 

 
 

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