Tom Rinaldi will discuss “The Red Bandanna” at NSU Sept. 27


NATCHITOCHES – “What would you do in the last hour of your life?”


Journalist Tom Rinaldi asks the question in his poignant and inspiring book “The Red Bandanna,” an account of the life and character of Welles Crowther, who saved many lives before losing his own in the collapse of the World Trade Center’s South Tower on Sept. 11, 2001.


Rinaldi will speak at Northwestern State University at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 27 in A.A. Fredericks Auditorium.  Sponsored by NSU’s Student Government Association and the Office of First Year Experience, the event is free and open to the public. A question and answer discussion will take place following the lecture, moderated by ESPN reporter and NSU alum Carley McCord.


A correspondent for ESPN since 2002, Rinaldi contributes to a wide variety of programs and fills a number of roles at the network. He is a weekly contributor to College Gameday, and serves as a sideline reporter for some of college football’s biggest games, including the Rose Bowl and the national championship. Rinaldi has also written pieces for ESPN The Magazine and “The Red Bandanna,” Rinaldi’s first book, was released last year.  The story had previously been a Rinaldi television feature.


Crowther was a 24-year-old equities trader and volunteer fire fighter who worked on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center’s South Tower. Crowther habitually carried a red bandanna in his pocket and survivors of the terror attacks described a young man wearing a red bandanna over his face to protect himself from smoke and debris as he guided injured and dazed people to safety.


“The story is about character, doing for others and being part of something greater than yourself,” said Reatha Cox, director of First Year Experience, the office that connects first year students with people, programs and resources to provide a strong foundation for academic success and personal growth. Cox plans to incorporate “The Red Bandanna” into the curriculum for students in the President’s Leadership Program.  “It ties in with our 1 of 7 service initiative and the concept of doing for others.”


“When Reatha presented this to us we knew Mr. Rinaldi would be perfect to bring to campus as a speaker, so we partnered with First Year Experience to sponsor him,” said SGA Academic Affairs Commissioner Jacob Ellis of Athens, who was four years old on 9/11. Ellis noted that many of today’s college students were small children in 2001 and have little memory of life before the terrorist attacks changed many aspects American life.


For more information on Rinaldi’s appearance at NSU, contact Ellis at