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Americanism Award presented to 9/11 survivor

Don Bacso, fourth from left, receives American Legion Post 369's Americanism Award from, from left, Post 369 Commander Ernest Komasinski, Commission Chairman Martin Dzieglowicz, National Vice Commander Bob Newman, Department of Indiana Commander Ed Trice, and First District Chaplain Stanley Nalewski.

American Legion Post 369 in East Chicago recently awarded Don Bacso, a 9/11 survivor, its Americanism Award for 2014.

On Sept. 11, 2001 Bacso was working as a computer consultant in the World Trade Center's twin towers. He was supposed to be in New York for one week, having arrived Sept. 10. By the afternoon of Sept. 12, he was driving home in a rental car after having survived the collapse of the twin towers following commercial airplane crashes into both buildings by terrorists.

Bacso told his story to American Legion Post 369 members, explaining that he was on the 57th floor of the first tower to be hit and relating what he remembered as he walked down the smoke-filled stairs to safety.

Since 9/11, Bacso has been more involved in community and civic responsibility. Currently, he is serving his second, four-year term on the Lake Central School Board of Trustees. He is involved in speaking about his experience to many community organizations (schools, churches, public/private companies).

In the process of speaking, he raises monetary donations for those civil servant families that have lost someone who made the ultimate sacrifice as a fireman, police officer, etc.

Bacso graduated from Hammond Morton Senior High School and Purdue University, earning a bachelor's degree. For the past 19 years, he has been living in Dyer with his wife and two sons, Nick and Ben.

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