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Free R&R to Help in Healing

July 03, 2002|From Associated Press

BOSTON -- Innkeeper Sandy Knox-Johnston wanted to treat World Trade Center rescue workers and families of victims to free vacations on the exclusive island of Nantucket, off the Massachusetts coast.

But only six people accepted the offer in the fall and spring.

Now, in peak summer season, Knox-Johnston is scrambling to find space for 75 hopeful vacationers through her program, Island-to-Island.

"I think the people in New York were not emotionally ready to leave until the World Trade Center site was cleared," said Knox-Johnston, 59, whose phone started ringing in May.

The vacationers asked to come when their children were out of school, and Knox-Johnston has agreed to help them find accommodations in the high season.

"We could have said no and, 'We're sorry, July and August are too chaotic,' " Knox-Johnston said. "But that's a very hard thing to say to people who have been working in the World Trade Center site."

Some applicants have been offered rooms by innkeepers, private homeowners and through a similar Sept. 11 respite program on Cape Cod.

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