When Jennifer Dowdy was in high school, she planned for a future in business administration. “Both my parents were in business so I always grew up around it,” she told the Moultrie Observer.
That was how she felt Sept. 10, 2001.
The next day, Dowdy and her classmates watched on television as the twin towers fell in New York City. “I watched in despair as thousands lost their lives in the attacks,” she told the newspaper.
That week changed the Moultrie native.
“There were so many stories that came out about how people were helping or the stories of those who lost loved ones on that day,” she said, and it made her question her inability to help.
“I observed the police officers, firemen, EMS and other first responders jump into action without hesitation and without fear. I heard the stories of the overwhelmed hospitals where doctors and nurses waited to receive patients. I watched images of first responders digging through the rubble at the Pentagon, the twin towers and the field in Pennsylvania. I wanted to go to those places and help them. Why couldn’t I? I was young and inexperienced, but strong and able bodied,” Dowdy told the Observer.
That’s when she decided her career was not going to be in business.
“I knew of a profession where I could make a difference and save lives. That’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to save others from hurt and suffering,” she said.
Dowdy registered for the health care program offered as an elective at Colquitt County High School.
She graduated from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in 2006 with an associate’s degree in nursing, and later earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Georgia Southern University.
“It’s been a humbling experience,” she told the newspaper. “The gratitude I get from my patients and their families, it’s made such a difference in not only their lives but mine. Despite the stress, the overtime, overnights, I don’t have a single regret. I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Now a family nurse practitioner in Brunswick, Dowdy told the Observer she hopes the work she’s done has shown the victims of the terrorist attacks didn’t die in vain.
“I hope the families of the victims know for so many reasons that their deaths were not in vain and that those victims and first responders that served and gave their lives are the reason I have impacted the lives of so many for the past almost 20 years. I will never forget.”
For more content like this, sign up for the Pulse newsletter here.