Ex-flight attendant pushes drink cart to honor 9/11 friends

Northeast

Paul Veneto pushes a beverage cart along the Boston harbor, Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021. Veneto, a former flight attendant who lost several colleagues when United Flight 175 was flown into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, is honoring his friends on the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks by pushing the beverage cart from Boston to ground zero in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

NATICK, Mass. (AP) — The retired flight attendant pushing an airline beverage cart more than 200 miles from Boston to New York City to honor colleagues who died during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks is well on his way.

Paul Veneto, 62, resumed his 20th-anniversary journey Monday after a night at the Verve Hotel in Natick, two days after starting his trek at Logan International Airport and a day after braving drenching rains from the Henri storm system.

He plans on pushing the cart — decorated with photos of all the 9/11 airline crews for inspiration and courage — to ground zero by Sept. 10.

“I look on top of this cart, I see these crew members’ faces, every time my legs hurt, it’s cold, rainy, they’re smiling back at me, the pain goes away,” Veneto said Saturday before he departed.

The walk, called Paulie’s Push, will benefit the families of his former colleagues and Power Forward 25, a nonprofit that assists people dealing with addiction. Veneto himself is in recovery from an opioid dependency caused in part by the attacks.

“I turned my life around to be able to recognize these guys who were never recognized,” Veneto said Saturday. “We all can tell this country and the world that these crew members were heroes on 9/11.”

United Flight 175, which was flown into the World Trade Center’s south tower in New York, was Veneto’s regular run. But he had the day off on Sept. 11, 2001.

The Braintree resident spent 30 years as a flight attendant for five different airlines.

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