For Phoenix area ice cream shop owner, the horrors of 9/11 led to a change in her life

Many who were alive on September 11, 2001 remember where they were and what they were doing when the attacks unfolded, and that's no different for a Valley woman who was living in another state at the time.

The tragedy, in a bitter sweet way, changed Helen Yung's life forever.

Yung is the owner of the ice cream shop Sweet Republic in the Valley, but in 2001, she was doing training in investment banking in New York City. She was in her apartment in Lower Manhattan when she heard the first plane hit the twin towers.

"I thought it was a huge accident, like truck on truck or something," said Yung.

Yung didn't think anything of it, and headed off to work.

"Just before I crossed the street, I could see the smoke coming out of the first tower, so then I paused and then crossed the street, and about that time, I saw the second plane hit the second tower," Yung recounted.

Like so many others that day, Yung was confused and in disbelief, staring at the scene unfolding from less than a mile away.

"You see smoke coming out of the building, but when people started jumping, I couldn't watch anymore," said Yung. "That hit me hard. I think I felt nauseous at that point."

Yung then walked back to her apartment.

"The next thing that happened, I heard a huge crash," Yung recounted. "Looked out my window and saw the towers crumbling, and a huge plume of black smoke rolling down the street towards my building. So, I jump under my bed because you feel like the world is ending and collapsing on you."

Yung was eventually evacuated from her building, and it was that tragic event that made her realize just how short life is. A year later, she pursued her passion, and went to culinary school. She eventually opened her ice cream shop, which now has different locations across the Valley.

"We've been doing this for the past 13 years, and it's really great to make people happy and putting smiles on peoples faces. Really different from what I was doing when 9/11 happened," Yung said.

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