One of those people was a Grosse Pointe forensic dentist who was on a team that worked to identify victims. Dr. Pamela Hammel said her work was the most honorable thing she has done in her life.
“I knew I would be called because it was a huge event. I’m always honored to go. I was a member of the team that did the identification for Michigan’s largest airline craft disaster in 1987 at Metro Airport,” Hammel said.
Her job was to examine the teeth of victims and make identifications through dental records. Hammel said her team traveled to Ground Zero twice.
Even now, Hammel still has keepsakes from her time there to remind herself that even in the worst moments there are good people.
“They had schoolchildren send, like, candy bars, or bags of chips with notes on them. ‘Thank you for being here. We admire you for doing this. It has to be a hard job,’” Hammel said.
Hammel is still a member of the National Disaster Medical System. She said the Michigan members of the team meet once a year.
She also teaches dentistry at the University of Detroit Mercy.