ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — There was a time when J.D. Healy’s life was all about the fast lane. He worked as a broker on Wall Street, had a huge annual salary, lived in a great home and spent his days rubbing elbows with the most powerful financial barons in Manhattan.
And then came the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
“On 9/11 I said, ‘I’m done,'” Healy says. “I needed a do-over. Badly. I guess you could say that’s why I’m here.”
‘Here’ is the Northeast Heights office of ProView Networks, the Internet sports broadcasting company he co-founded less than two years ago with Steve Davis and Michael Vigil.
“I’m where I am right now because of Steve,” says Healy, 47. “He got me to this point.”
ProView streams live and archived events on its site, www.nmaafilms.tv. The site takes a big leap forward this coming week when it starts charging viewers to watch live broadcasts of most of the state basketball tournament schedule.
Albuquerque is a familiar stomping ground for Healy. He graduated from Cibola High School in 1981, then set off three years later for a highly successful career as a broker in New York and Los Angeles.
The terrorist attacks came a year after his wife died. On the day hijacked planes felled the World Trade Center, Healy lost dozens of friends and colleagues, including his brother-in-law.
“He and I always took the same subway into lower Manhattan, but we usually rode in separate cars so we never really had a chance to talk,” Healy says. “For whatever reason I rode in his car with him that day.”
Moments later, his brother-in-law was checking into his office on the 106th floor of the north tower. Healy was standing half a dozen blocks away on the corner of Wall and Water.
“I was trying to reach Paul when the second plane hits,” Healy recalls. “All they found of him were his pinkie and his wedding ring.”
There are a million memories from that day. Among the most vivid are the debris clouds that turned day into night in an instant, the sounds of sheer terror as he spoke briefly by phone with a friend trapped in the tower, and the overwhelming taste of metal and smell of burning flesh in the hours after the attack.
And then there was the walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.
“About halfway I start to jog towards the other side,” he says. “I’m trying to get away from this awful disaster and I realize I’m standing right in the middle of this iconic piece of New York’s skyline. I wasn’t sure if it was a target, too.”
It took Healy a full year before he visited lower Manhattan again. Even then, he’d shield his eyes from the remains at Ground Zero as he drove by in a cab.
Two years after the attacks, he told his two children to pack two or three days’ worth of clothes.
“I told the kids we were going on an adventure,” Healy says. “I packed my wife’s wedding dress, got the kids, put the keys in the mailbox and called a Realtor. I said ‘sell it, all of it.'”
Stops in Florida and every tourist trap between the East Coast and California ensued. Eventually the Healy trio reached Albuquerque.
They looked at a model home just for kicks. They liked it so much they bought it – model furniture, model plates, everything.
That do-over, that adventure has turned into a more laid-back life in Healy’s old town. His oldest child, a daughter, attends the University of New Mexico. His son is a sophomore at Cibola.
“My son asked me one day if that’s it, if the adventure’s over,” Healy says. “I told him the real adventure is what we do with the rest of our lives.”