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September: Trauma Recovery and Support

“No Day Shall Erase You From the Memory of Time”

Originally, the Foundation reserved the month of September for support of organizations that were created in the aftermath of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. Some facts from the 9/11 Memorial & Museum:

  • The World Trade Center was a 16-acre commercial complex that contained seven buildings, a large plaza and an underground shopping mall that connected six of the buildings. The centerpieces of the complex were the Twin Towers.

  • The Twin Towers were 110 stories each and provided nearly 10 million square feet of office space for about 35,000 people and 430 companies.

  • American Airlines Flight 11 hit the North Tower at 8:45 a.m.; United Airlines Flight 175 hit the South Tower eighteen minutes later.

  • The Pentagon, the world's largest low-rise office building (6,500,000 square feet) houses 26,000 employees and is the headquarters for the Department of Defense, including three military services: Army, Navy and Air Force. On that sunny Tuesday in September, hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the first floor west wall at 9:34 a.m.

  • And finally, having learned about the attacks in New York and Washington, the passengers onboard United Airlines Flight 93 worked together to bring their hijacked plane down and it crashed in Shanksville, PA. While it has never been confirmed, the CIA and other agencies believe the Capitol Building was the intended target of Flight 93.

  • 2,996 people lost their lives on 9/11/2001:

    • At the World Trade Center, 2,763 people were lost, including passengers on both flights, 343 firefighters and paramedics, 23 New York City police officers and 37 Port Authority police officers

    • At the Pentagon, 189 people were killed, including passengers on Flight 77

    • In Shanksville, Flight 93 killed the 44 people on the flight

On the 3rd of November, 2014, One World Trade Center opened. Called "The Freedom Tower" by many, it was built as a testament to all of the people tragically lost during the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001. Situated on the spot the World Trade Center inhabited, the Freedom Tower is also meant to show the resilience of the people of New York and the country as a whole. Befitting its status, it is the tallest building in the United States.

As many news outlets covered last month, deaths of FDNY first responders from 9/11-related diseases now equal fatalities in the attacks. In September, EMT Hilda Vannata and retired firefighter Robert Fulco passed away, bringing the total deaths of first responders to 343, the same number who died in the immediate aftermaths of the attacks on WTC, the Pentagon and in Shanksville.

Also sadly, the NY Fire Commissioner said that 11,000 people from NYPD are suffering from WTC-related diseases, including 3,500 with cancer.

There are two organizations the Foundation donated to in September related to the events of 9/11:

  • VOICES Center for Resilience: Originally called “Voices of September 11th”, the organization was informally founded by Mary Fetchet, who lost her 24 year-old son Brad at the WTC, along with Beverly Eckert, who lost her husband Sean. Meeting at a gathering of Connecticut families who had lost loved ones in the attacks, they recognized “the challenges families faced in obtaining accurate information and navigating complicated systems to identify resources and financial support.” Now, 22 years later, the organization is called Voices Center for Resilience, and it has evolved to meet the ongoing needs of the 9/11 community, “developing support services and educational programs”, including advocacy on a wide range of issues relevant to the 9/11 community, long-term mental health support and so much more. Read more HERE.

  • Tunnel to Towers Foundation: Since 9/11, T2T.ORG has been helping America’s heroes "by providing mortgage-free homes to Gold Star and fallen first responder families with young children and by building specially-adapted smart homes for catastrophically injured veterans and first responders.” The organization is also committed to "eradicating veteran homelessness and helping America to Never Forget September 11, 2001.” T2T.ORG was founded by the family of Stephen Siller, a firefighter from Brooklyn’s Squad 1. On 9/11, Stephen had just finished his shift and was headed to play golf with his brothers. Instead, he returned to the Squad to get his gear. Like so many others, he strapped 60 pounds of gear to his back and raced on foot through the tunnel to the Twin Towers, where he gave his life serving others. He left behind a wife and five children. Read more HERE.

Each site targeted that day has a Memorial honoring those who were lost. In New York, there is the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. The Pentagon's Memorial captures the moment in time at 9:34 a.m. "when 184 lives became intertwined for eternity." The Flight 93 National Memorial was built in the grassy field encircling the crash site. The Visitor Center was built in line with the flight path and the Memorial Plaza was built along the edge of the crash site.

Above: Top two pictures are from the 9/11 Memorial and Museum and the reflection pools on the grounds; bottom left shows the Pentagon Memorial and bottom right is the Flight 93 National Memorial.

The Foundation evolved with the month of September to include other organizations that work to help with trauma support and recovery. This month the Foundation donated to these organizations:

Haymarket Center: Located in Chicago, Haymarket provides care 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Its mission is to help people with substance abuse disorders. Haymarket is a leader in the field of addictions and behavioral health treatment.

People’s Resource Center: Located in downtown Wheaton, PRC has been working (since 1975) to help its neighbors in DuPage County who are suffering from hunger and poverty. Nearly 26,000 residents rely on PRC each year. It offers nutritious food and other basic necessities like clothes and rent. It also connects people with resources: education and tutoring, jobs and technology to “create a future of hope and opportunity for all.”

Inside Out Club: Located in Naperville, and begun in 2012, this organization’s name was initially “Support Community”. In 2018, the organization became the Inside Out Club, believing that empowering kids to “live each day with good character” will lead to giving kids and families opportunities to “develop and practice character skills, broaden individuals’ perspective of the community through education on social causes and to empower children and families to make their community better.”

Todd Martin Development Fund: Located in Lansing, MI, TMYL prepares young people, “especially those from under-resourced families and communities for success as individuals and active, responsible citizens through innovative tennis, education, life skills and leadership development programming." TTYL provides academic tutoring, leadership development, and helps kids have a safe space to play tennis to support their physical health, along with mental and emotional health.

Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation: With September being Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation helps families of a child with “the most commonly diagnosed and deadliest childhood cancer.” The PBT Foundation provides educational resources and emotional support to connect families to the larger pediatric brain tumor community, peer-to-peer mentoring and through its Butterfly Fund, emergency financial assistance for families at 29 partnering institutions across the country.


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