Retired NYPD sergeant now focused on helping others overcome PTSD

Bronx native shares trauma 20 years later

ORLANDO, Fla. – Nancy Rosado, a Bronx native, knows all too well the trauma caused by painful experiences.

“Twenty years ago, those buildings fell on me. I thought I was gonna die,” Rosado said. “I heard someone yell, ‘Run!’ For once in my freakin’ life, I did what I was told. We ran.”

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Rosado is a retired New York Police Department sergeant and was among the first police officers to respond after the Sept. 11 attacks.

“That black soot that you saw on TV, it wrapped itself around me and I couldn’t breathe,” she recalled. “When we got there, we discovered that debris wasn’t just debris. It was people making the last decisions of their lives and you were witness to that. I want you to try and put yourself in our shoes. Trained to respond and trained to preserve life and you were helpless. You will never, ever, ever forget what that looked like and you will never forget what it sounded like. It’s very unique. It gets [etched] in your mind.”

Rosado moved to Central Florida 14 years ago and now lives in Orlando. She works with UCF Restores, a program focused on helping first responders, military veterans and survivors of sexual assault, among others who suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder.

“The program has had a significant impact particularly, my observation, with first responders,” she said. “We have to understand first responders generally are a little mistrusting. They’re uncomfortable with showing their feelings and actually admitting any kind of weakness.”

By using virtual reality, one-on-one and group therapy sessions, the UCF Restores program has helped tackle the taboo associated with first responders and their mental health.

“It’s pretty remarkable that they’ve been able to wrap their minds around, ‘OK, how do we approach? How do we get people to buy into their own mental health?’” she said.

On Saturday, when the nation commemorates 20 years since the terrorist attacks that killed almost 3,000 people, Rosado will be speaking at an event in Sanford where she’ll share her story.

“I have to say, every year I fight with, do I talk about it again or don’t I? But we always say never forget,” she said. “If you don’t talk about it, guess what’s gonna happen?”

About the Author:

Carolina Cardona highlights all Central Florida has to offer in her stories on News 6 at Nine. She joined News 6 in June 2018 from the Telemundo station in Philadelphia.