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Mother and son recall their response to bridge collapse

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Julie and Alex Schwartz
Julie Schwartz and her son Alex, 19, were among the first civilians who responded to the 35W bridge collapse on Aug. 1, 2007.
MPR Photo/Tom Crann

Two people who remember the bridge collapse vividly are Julie Schwartz and her 19-year-old son, Alex.  

They were among the first of dozens of people with no emergency training who rushed to the scene of the 35W bridge collapse and started helping the victims.  

Julie and Alex watched the bridge fall from the top of a parking ramp at the University of Minnesota nearby, and stayed on the scene for another nine hours. 

Julie and Alex recently received the "Hero of the Year Award for Disaster Relief" from the Red Cross, and it wasn't just for their work on Aug. 1, 2007. It turns out they live in Hugo, Minn., and they helped residents of that town when a tornado struck on Memorial Day.   

Mother and son talked with MPR's Tom Crann about Aug. 1, 2007, and about how it changed their lives.