United Hero:  Kristin White

Kristin Gould White

Kristin White Kristin Gould White
65 years old
New York, NY

A freelance medical journalist.

The following is excerpted from The Chicago Tribune.

Kristin White had sailed down the Nile, seen the ruins of Sicily and visited Turkey. She spoke Latin and ancient Greek. White, a 65-year-old widow, planned to visit San Francisco to visit friends and wine country. For 40 years, White, a freelance medical journalist, had lived in the same brownstone apartment in New York City. For almost three years, she had been researching early contributors to medicine and science from Ivy League schools. "She was a sponge," said her only daughter, Allison Vadhan. "She could tell you everything about current events, ancient history. She was the most intellectual person I ever knew."

On the morning of Sept. 11, Vadhan was driving to work when she noticed smoke coming from one of the twin towers of the World Trade Center. She pulled over and saw the second plane fly into the second tower. She rushed home. Then Vadhan started wondering about her mother. Was she flying Monday? Tuesday? Wednesday? Vadhan dialed into the Internet and checked the itinerary her mother had sent her on electronic mail. She saw "Flight 93" on the e-mail at the same time the flight number and the crash flashed across her TV screen.

For the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's biography of Kristin Gould White, click here.