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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, September 14, 2001

America's bloodiest day
More heartache spreads to Islands

Correction: A previous version of this story erroneously listed Jude Larson, whose real name is Jude Olsen, among the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks based on a false report. Further information on the false report can be found in a Sept. 20 story.

By Tanya Bricking
Advertiser Staff Writer

Running three radio stations on the Big Island gave Chris Leonard enough distance from Tuesday's terror attack to detach himself from the horror of it.

Rich Y.C. Lee called his wife to say he was being evacuated from the World Trade Center. He hasn't been heard from since.
Then the heartbreak became his own — threefold.

By Tuesday afternoon, he learned Timothy Ward, his cousin from San Diego, was aboard United Airlines Flight 175, which crashed into the second World Trade Center tower as the world watched.

By Wednesday, friends told him former Punahou School classmate and pastry chef Heather Ho was at work at a restaurant on the north tower's 107th floor when terrorists struck. Yesterday, he found out another classmate, Rich Y.C. Lee, was four floors below Ho during the attack.

Lee, a 1986 Punahou grad, called his wife, Karen, to tell her his Internet firm was being evacuated. He hasn't been heard from since.

"It just piled on," said Leonard, general manager of New West Broadcasting in Hilo. "I think all of us are looking at it and saying, Who's next? I'm almost afraid to answer the phone."

In Honolulu, Brenda Reichel is feeling the same way.

"I'm heartbroken," said Reichel, who appraised jewelry for Georgine Corrigan, a Hawai'i Kai antiques dealer who went down with United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania.

Reichel was doubly stunned to realize another friend, New York jeweler Robert Speisman, died on American Airlines Flight 77, which struck the Pentagon.

"I'm trying to keep my head on," Reichel said. "But it's just mind boggling."

In Wahiawa, Rose Lee is planning to get on a plane, despite her fear, to be with her daughter in New York. Her daughter, Lissa Jean Collins, 42, a 1977 Leilehua High graduate, fears her husband, Michael Collins, is dead.

Collins, 39, worked on the first tower's 103rd floor.

"It's a horrible day for me," Lee said. "All I'm thinking is I need to get to her as soon as possible."

Also among those unaccounted for is 1993 Kaiser High School valedictorian Maile Hale, who was in New York for a conference. Hawai'i families already are grieving Christine Snyder, 32, a Kailua newlywed who was on Flight 93.

In New York City, Ho's cousin, 1994 Punahou graduate J.D. Hong, will spend today searching hospital rosters. His boss in New York is giving him days off to search.

Here at home, Punahou alumni are pulling together.

"It's the nature of Punahou to have people who would end up working somewhere like the World Trade Center," said Harlan B. Cadinha, who played football with Lee and remembers him as an ambitious and "fabulous individual."

For a while, a Web page listing survivors brought 1987 Punahou graduate Pam Davis hope because she saw Ho's name. But Ho's family members said the listing was an error. "I was elated," Davis said. "Then absolutely crushed."

Reach Tanya Bricking at tbricking@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8026.