Updated: Feb 17
Gerry Parris was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia to parents Gerald Parris (Second World War D-Day veteran) and Yvonne Talbot. He has eleven siblings.
His grandfather Seldon Thomas Parris served overseas in the First World War as part of Canada’s segregated No.2 Construction Battalion.
Gerald joined the military and served in the Primary Reserves from 1972-1974 before joining the Regular Force Navy where he served for 16 years between 1976 to 1992. He received the Canadian Forces Decoration, Nato Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal and Long Service Medal
After retirement from the military, Gerry joined the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires and currently sits as the (Halifax Regional District Manager)
On the 20th Anniversary of the September 11th , 2001 coordinated terrorist attacks on the United States, also commonly referred to as 9/11, Commissionaire Gerry Parris was acknowledged in an article 911 through eyes of a commissionaire.
A CALL TO ACTION
At Commissionaires sites across Nova Scotia, supervisors and staff were learning of the Twin Tower attacks from the news. One such supervisor was Gerry Parris, who started working for Commissionaires in 1999 after serving in the Gulf War during Operation Desert Storm. He was the Ops Centre Supervisor overseeing the Macdonald Bridge on 9/11 and remembers exactly where he was when he first learned of the attacks.
“We came into our office around 2 p.m. and the television was showing planes crashing into the World Trade Centre,” said Parris, who now works in Commissionaires’ head office as HRM District Manager.
“We thought it was live, but it was a recording. About five minutes later, an email came in from the safety officer and it was a general call for anybody who was available to come to the airport.”
“We had just finished our 12-hour shift and said, ‘we’re going’.”
Parris and his colleague were two of about 70 commissionaires from other sites who rushed to the airport to take part in the emergency response. He recalls being assigned to crowd control, tasked with providing instruction and support to people coming off planes. Passengers began deplaning around 3:30 p.m. on 9/11, with the last aircraft deplaned at approximately 4 a.m. on September 12, 2001.
Parris worked 25 hours straight, having started his shift at the bridge at 3 a.m. on the day of the attacks.
In recognition of his service, Gerry Paris received signed memo of appreciation.
Brother to June Parris