At the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York City, the faces, names and stories of those killed in the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center are displayed. But two photos of the near 3,000 victims were missing, prompting a museum employee to track down one of the unaccounted faces.
“It sets up immediately the diversity of the victims, the magnitude,” the museum’s chief curator, Jan Seidler Ramirez, said of the collection of images. “When people are in the gallery they will go to the wall and they will find faces that intrigue them.”
But it wasn’t the featured faces that grabbed guest services worker Grant Llera’s attention. Instead it was one of the two missing photos that inspired him to pursue a mission.
Llera told CBS News correspondent Adriana Diaz he made a promise that he would track down the missing photo for 9/11 victim Albert Ogletree.
“I pointed at the leaf and I said to Linda: ‘I’m going to get the photo on the wall,'” he recalled.
Little was known about Ogletree, outside of the fact that he worked in a cafeteria in the north tower. His wife died after the attack and he had no known descendants.
But during Llera’s search conducted on his own time, he found an online tribute from a stepdaughter and reached out to her on Facebook.
“So she did write back to me,” Llera told Diaz. “However, she did not have any photos because he did not like having his photo taken.”
Llera said he then turned to the genealogy company Ancestry.com and located an address for Ogletree in Romulus, Michigan.
“I felt that maybe if I could find where he went to high school that maybe they would have a photo of him,” he said.
Llera emailed high school officials in the town, who said they didn’t have older yearbooks. Instead, they pointed him towards city council woman and former teacher Kathy Abdo. She searched the local historical museum.
“I had an idea of what decade he was in Romulus so I went over and went through all of the yearbooks in the 60s,” Abdo said. “I had to go through page by page and that’s where I found Albert Ogletree.”
The image is pixelated but Ogletree was finally found in the only known photograph of him taken around the age of 15. The image now appears above his name at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.
“He’s not going to be forgotten now,” Abdo said.