At the tender age of ten, Mark Weingard felt the terrible pain of loss when his dad was killed in a car accident just nine days before the Dad’s 36th birthday. This incident had such a strong impact on Mark’s life that he actually believed he would lose his own life at the age of 35. This belief caused Mark to push himself much harder than most, driving him to become a millionaire city trader before the age of 30. While Mark went on to cheat death a few times, he has managed to live past 35, and despite losing loved ones along the way, he continues to thrive.
Cheating Death – World Trade Center
The morning of September 11, 2001, is one that no American can ever forget. It started off for Mark Weingard as a stressful and aggravating day, since he was running late for an important business meeting. That meeting was held in the World Trade Center. The stress of being late was suddenly replaced with horror and loss after the terror attacks on the very place that he was supposed to be.
According to Wikipedia, almost three-thousand people were killed in that attack on American soil. “Of the 2,977 victims killed in the September 11 attacks, 412 were emergency workers in New York City who responded to the World Trade Center. This included: 343 firefighters (including a chaplain and two paramedics) of the New York City Fire Department. (FDNY).”
Strike Two – A Horrible Loss
Death’s second strike came just three months after Mark’s 36th birthday when he lost his fiance, Annika Linden, in the 2002 terrorist bombings in 2002. He likely would have been with her, but they had broken up just 2 weeks prior, and had not made up at the time of the nightclub bombings that took her life.
In his own words, Mark shared with EVA, “As soon as I heard about the bombing I knew something was wrong. I got on the flight the next morning and went to look for her. When I arrived in Bali I had to go from place to place viewing bodies on ice slabs. Luckily I had two close friends with me who happened to be in Bali at the time, and they shielded me from much of the horror.
When I realized I wouldn’t find her alive I went back to my hotel room. I took a shower and wrapped a towel around me, then sat and wrote. I wanted to try to think what she would think. As I did this the bedroom door slammed open.
I went to see who opened it and as I stepped into the corridor, the door slammed shut. Annika had played her last practical joke on me. I just laughed as I went to the receptionist and had to explain that I had locked myself semi-naked out of my room. I felt like she was telling me to be positive and not think of the negative. I went back to my room and decided there and then to set up a foundation in her name to mark this negative event with a positive so the terrorists would not win.”
We will share more about this center, and about Mark’s third brush with death in next week’s article.