November 21, 2012
Dear Families and Friends,
During the Thanksgiving holiday, we think about family and friends whose support we are grateful for. Now, just a few weeks after Sandy, many families in the Northeast are thankful for things we typically take for granted - like electricity, warm showers and hot meals.
Last Sunday, Frank and I had an opportunity to participate in the Clinton Global Initiatives Day of Action for New York to assist in the recovery effort. We wanted to volunteer our time as a way of celebrating what would have been our son Brad's 36th birthday. Along with 1,000 volunteers, we were transported by bus to the Rockaways: a tight-knit community hard hit over the years by the loss of lives on 9/11, several plane crashes, and most recently fires and flooding that destroyed their homes. The destruction we witnessed on the drive in was overwhelming. Yet as we arrived at St. Francis de Sales Parish, we were moved by the outpouring of caring and compassion, similar to our personal experience after 9/11. Thousands of volunteers from a variety of organizations came together to assist community leaders in the response effort. There was a very strong sense of fellowship and good will.
One of our assignments was to survey the neighborhood to assess the needs of each household. Each home had a sign on its door indicating the house had been inspected for livability. Having an opportunity to talk with many of the residents, we were inspired by their strength and resilience. Some had basic needs easily addressed - a mop and cleaning supplies, groceries, or inquiries if the local hospital was open. Despite the challenges they faced, many individuals remarked, "Someone must need the help more than me."
The Rockaways, like other communities in New Jersey and New York, are in the immediate stages of cleaning up their communities and gutting their flooded homes. Others who lost their homes will begin the long process of starting over. Many will need help from their family, friends and organizations in the years ahead.
In the past 11 years, we have had the support of wonderful organizations that are now assisting those impacted by Sandy. We have included information about the American Red Cross, Catholic Charities of Trenton, the United Way Hurricane Recovery Fund, the Robin Hood Relief Fund and other organizations on our website. We have also highlighted the work of H.E.A.R.T. 9/11 led by our friend Bill Keegan. With the help of the Greater NY Building & Construction Trades members, they are removing water, sheet rock and personal belongings from flooded houses.
We hope that, at this time of giving, you will consider getting involved - by volunteering your time, or contributing financial support or material goods. Click here for information about organizations that are in need of your assistance. Please let us know if you would like us to include an organization that you are working with.
All of us at Voices of September 11th are grateful to each of you for your support. We wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Mary Fetchet & the VOICES Staff