BROOKFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) — A Brookfield native and 9/11 survivor was 22 years old, working his first job out of college when the Twin Towers were hit.

Matt Grimes said his memories from that morning are crystal clear. He showed News 8 pictures of where he worked on Water Street in the AIG Insurance Building. He described witnessing the second plane hit the South Tower, then hearing, watching, and feeling it collapse.

He still has the suit jacket that he wore as he ran Uptown through a thick cloud of ash and smoke to escape the carnage. There are visible ash stains still on the suit jacket today. He also has the card from when he donated blood in Manhattan on Sept. 12, 2001. He said 9/11 was a day that changed his life and his perspective.

“It gave me the idea to do things because you don’t know if tomorrow […] you’re not going to get the opportunities that you have today,” Grimes said. “I really think it did. It changed the way I saw the country and the community, since then…and that I had to be part of it to go forward after that.”

He said that some people might say they get tired of talking about the event or are too emotional.

“I don’t, because the fact that people are asking me says, no, we have not forgotten,” Grimes said.

Grimes believes he survived for a reason.

You can hear more of Grimes’ survival story on Sunday, Sept. 11, on News 8.