When Thomas Heidenberger's wife died Sept. 11, 2001, shock and grief weren't all the Chevy Chase man had to deal with.
Heidenberger, then a 55-year-old airline pilot, had a daughter at Loyola College in Baltimore. He had a son who would be heading to college in a few years.
And as recovery workers labored at the heavily damaged Pentagon — his wife, Michele, had been the lead flight attendant on board American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed there — he started recalculating the family finances. Without Michele's earnings, Heidenberger believed he'd have to sell their house or take out a second mortgage to finance the children's educations.