Local families who lost loved ones on bin Laden's death

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By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

PHOENIX – Scottsdale resident Mike McAvoy was watching television Sunday night when his phone lit up with text messages and his wife called from across the house, "Bin Laden's dead!"

"The first thing I did was look at a picture of my brother," said McAvoy, who was in the area of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

His brother, John McAvoy, was a member of Ladder Company 3 in lower Manhattan and had just finished his shift when the first plane struck the twin towers. He rushed down to the scene to help.

"Him and a couple of other firefighters decided to put back their gear and flag a cab downtown to help, there's no place else he would want to be that day," McAvoy said.

Meanwhile, John's best friend, James Ladely, an employee of Canton Fitzgerald, was at work in the towers. Both he and John perished in the attacks.

"There's part of me that's happy, but it's bittersweet," said McAvoy of his reaction to Osama bin Laden's death.

He said James and John would be pleased.

"I know they're happy," he said. "You don't want anyone to go through what we've been through these 10 years."

Gilbert business owner Patty Marchozzi lost her sister, 29-year-old Sharon Millan, in the attacks. She had been working on the 85th floor of the first building to be hit.

"With our situation, we were never able to recover Sharon's body," said Marchozzi, "So for us, at least we have some type of justice as far as her dying and the person that was the whole leader of all of this is finally gone."

Another Valley resident, Donna Bird, lost her husband in the attacks. He lived in Tempe but was in New York at the World Trade Center for a meeting when the planes hit.

She released a statement thanking the troops and administration for carrying out the mission.

It read, in part, "My family never lost confidence that America would prevail, that this inhumane instrument of evil would be eliminated from this earth, and that we would eventually have the peace of mind to be gained from learning that the murderer of our dear husband and father has been brought to justice."