The 2996 Project is a blogosphere memorial, conceived by D. Challener Roe, where each victim of September 11 is remembered by a writer. to mark the five year anniversary of that infamous day. Apparently, most bloggers were randomly linked to the September 11 hero they would be memorializing, allowing fate to make the connection between two lives, between blogger and hero.
As a part of the blogosphere tribute to each and every victim of the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, we are honored, humbled, and grateful for the opportunity to present one of those heroes of September 11, 2001. Ivan Vale, and employee of Cantor Fitzgerald, who was working at the Trade Center at the time of the attack. Ivan was a remarkable man to his family, and a regular American like the rest of us, trying to live and lead his life on September 11. Ivan Vale was obviously loved by his wife, mother, and older brother. His middle brother, Felix was also killed on September 11, 2001.
Newsday had this lovely article on December 7, 2001.
There were no tearful memorial services for Felix and Ivan Vale, brothers who worked floors apart in the World Trade Center. Instead, the family decided to throw a block party in the neighborhood where the two grew up in the East New York section of Brooklyn.
It seemed the appropriate way to commemorate both brothers. Appropriate for very different reasons, however. “Ivan because it goes against what everyone else would do,” said their older brother, José Quintana, 37. “And Felix because it was an opportunity to be with family and friends.” Ivan, 27, was “the one that tried to rebel,” Quintana said. He was the one who was into skeletons and swords, had a snake tattoo on his arm and painted his room black when he was a kid. He lived in Ridgewood with his wife, Lucy.
Felix, 29, was the clean-cut, responsible one, living with and supporting his asthmatic mother in the family house. “He was always the first choice to baptize kids in the family,” Quintana said. “He would go and hold the babies and cry.” Both worked at Cantor Fitzgerald, Felix as a project manager and facilities supervisor on the 101st floor of Tower One, and Ivan in technical support for eSpeed on the 103rd floor. Felix had gotten the job for his younger brother. Betsy Martinez, 33, a cousin by marriage, also worked at Cantor, as an assistant manager on the 105th floor. All three of them were at work when a hijacked plane hit the building. Their families released three doves at the block party to symbolize their lives.
When it came to plans for the future, Felix had “the typical white picket fence dream,” Quintana said. Quintana and Felix had hoped some day to buy adjacent houses in New Jersey and raise their families together there. Though Felix was not married, he couldn’t wait to start his own family. “Felix is the type who wanted kids so much,” Quintana said. He doted on Quintana’s daughters, Jennifer, 11, and Jazmine, 7. Handsome but shy, Felix was popular with women, his older brother said. “They would follow him, but he was too shy. What a wasted gift!”
Ivan’s dream was to live in Florida, enjoying the sun and the fun with Lucy, Quintana said. “Ivan is the type who would have fun with everything,” he said. “He and his wife were like two peas in a pod.” The two went on road trips together, loved to go to parades and got into the spirit of Ivan’s favorite holiday, Halloween, by dressing up in costumes every year and hitting the parties. The couple’s apartment was like a mini zoo, with a half-dozen rabbits, a couple of iguanas, two cats and a dog. This was typical Ivan. “He didn’t have the regular stuff like a puppy or a fish. He had to have something more exotic,” Quintana said.
Ford Mustangs and other such “muscle cars” were Ivan’s passion, and he owned an old Mustang he was restoring. “He spent more on that car than any human should spend on a car that you don’t drive,” Quintana said. Still, despite the differences between the two brothers, they were devoted to each other, Quintana said. “There’s nothing they wouldn’t do for each other,” he said. “You know, they bicker with each other, just like all family members do, but they were there for each other. I’m sure they were there for each other at the end.”
A friend Marc Whitken describes his interaction with Ivan Vale:
I started working with Ivan at Cantor Fitzgerald / eSpeed in December of 1999 as we were both in Desktop Support. Over the next 14 months a got to know Ivan pretty well. In February of 2001 we both were promoted to become NT Systems Administrators. Ivan was not completely happy with that as it meant that he would not be as able to see all his friends in the Company on such a regular basis. Ivan was one of the most helpful and resourceful people there. He knew everybody. I really enjoyed hearing about his animals and the situations he put them in. I remember a picture of his Bunny Rabbit “sandwich”; a bunny in between 2 pieces of bread with lettuce. I will always cherish his humor and dedication.
I will cherish the Yankees game that I went to with him and Bill so that Bill could see his first game in Yankee Stadium. The week before a bunch of us went to Jeremy’s Ale House at the Seaport . Ivan had a last laugh with me as I found out in October that he was the one who played a joke on me by hiding Popcorn in my desk on numerous occasions. I know he is up there laughing as I write this. RIP my friend and I will see you on the other side some day. I’m sure you will be in your Mustang with many animals.
Jose Quintana’s youngest brothers, Felix and Ivan Vale, were eight and 10 years younger, but he understood them pretty well. The older one, Felix, loved children, wanted marriage and loved nothing more than family. “If it was between spending the day in Hollywood with Jennifer Lopez, or having a family gathering over here, he would definitely pick us,” Mr. Quintana said. “He was actually the soul of the family.”
The family included four brothers and one sister, plus dozens of cousins and others from New Jersey, Los Angeles, Puerto Rico, or Connecticut. Felix Vale, 29, lived in East New York with his mother, whom he supported with his job as a manager at Cantor Fitzgerald. “Felix was the type that if he met you five minutes ago and you needed somebody to help you do your move, he was there,” Mr. Quintana said. He helped his brother, Ivan Vale, 27, get a job at eSpeed, part of Cantor Fitzgerald. He did well there, surviving a round of layoffs on Sept. 10. Ivan Vale had been married to his wife, Lucy, for three years. “They didn’t have any kids; what they had was a zoo,” Mr. Quintana said, listing the couple’s pets: six to eight rabbits, four or five lizards, two cats, one dog. “Ivan was a little off center; he loved these weird things,” Mr. Quintana said. “Ivan loved skeletons; he loved swords, and the stuff with the animals.
He painted his room black one time. Once he had a lizard, an alligator, I’m not sure what the heck it was, and he divided his room in half. He gave the lizard half, in its cage, and the other half was for him.” “They’re Brooklyn kids who never got into trouble,” Mr. Quintana said. “They were doing fine. They were doing O.K.”
Lucy Vale writes lovingly about her husband:
My husband is a precious person. I could go on to state all of his many beautiful qualities but anyone that has had the pleasure of knowing Ivan and having him as a friend knows exactly what I cannot put into words. Ivan lives inside of everyone that loves him. Many think it’s crazy of me to live in our apartment all alone with just memories but it’s those memories that give me the strength I need to go on day by day. His presence is so strong in our apartment that it almost feels like he’s still there with me. Ivan and I are one person. We are so much alike that it’s scary. Ivan’s family and friends thought it was uncanny how much we had in common when they first met me. Fortunately for Ivan my family knew how eccentric he was early on because he and my brother Walter attended the same high school. It’s strange how life is. You spend time looking for that special someone to grow old with. Someone who will love you for you and not change a single thing about you and who only asks of you to do the same in return. Then in a blink of an eye it’s all gone and your told life goes on, deal with it. How when half of your soul is missing.
I miss him and love him so much. Lucy Vale, January 31, 2002
Finally, Ivan’s brother, Jose pens this tribute:
It has now been over two years and I still can believe that my little brothers are gone. I miss Felix and you so much. Every time I do something new on the computer I think that if you were around I would call you. BTW, I was finally able to install the network that we tried so hard to install. Ivan, just want to let you know that Jennifer, Jazmine, Carmen, Mom and me will always remember you as the big hearted nut job that you were. I think of you and Felix and everyday. I look forward to dreaming about you guys – these dreams are never sad but happy since they keep you alive for me. I love you and miss you so much, little brother.
Gui Jose Guintana, October 4, 2003
May God Bless everyone who loved and knew Ivan Vale. No one was epecting this tragedy five years ago.
Peace I leave with you, peace I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
God Bless America.