October 24 , 2008

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October 24, 2008


Dear Families and Friends,


As I mentioned last week, October is National Depression Screening month.  As we get further into the fall season, the approach of winter and the holiday season can often spark feelings of depression. As a mental health professional, I want to stress the importance of recognizing symptoms of depression and seeking help as soon as possible. This coming week VOICES is pleased to offer free, anonymous depression and anxiety screenings over the telephone.  Please see the article below for further information.


Also on the subject of health, the WTC Medical Working Group's report, released earlier this week by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, paints a disturbing picture of the physical and mental health problems that the residents of Lower Manhattan, rescue and recovery workers are still experiencing. The Mayor launched a campaign to promote awareness of medical and mental health treatment options for those who are still suffering. 


The seriousness outcome of these problems was apparent in other news this week - the honoring of eight members of the NYPD who became ill and died after working at Ground Zero. NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly presented medals to the families of Kevin Hawkins, Robert Williamson, John Young, James Zadroga, Thomas Brophy, James Godbee; Angelo Peluso and Ronald Weintraub.  For the families, I hope it was healing to have their loved ones' efforts acknowledged, and to know that our thanks, thoughts and prayers are with them at this time.


This week we were notified that the Department of Defense will select five family members of 9/11 victims and two alternates to attend the hearing or week of trial at Guantanamo Bay. Family members who submit their names will be randomly selected by computer. More details are included below.  


Finally, the VOICES team was in New Brunswick, New Jersey this week to conduct 9/11 Living Memorial workshops. We want to thank our generous hosts at DEVCO for donating space and for all the assistance they provided. We will be conducting another workshop in New Brunswick again in December, so if you live in New Jersey please consider participating.


Warm Regards,

Mary and the Voices Staff



VOICES Programs and events


VOICES Offers Depression and Anxiety Screening

While the lovely fall foliage will boost the spirits of many, for others the approach of winter and the holiday season can spark a bout with depression. It’s important to recognize depression’s symptoms and get help as soon as possible, to prevent the condition from progressing. Signs may include:
• A persistent sense of sadness, anxiety or emptiness
• Feelings of pessimism or hopelessness
• A loss of interest or enjoyment in hobbies and activities that were once gratifying
• Emotions of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness


It may be tempting to dismiss these feelings as unimportant, but depression is a serious medical illness that needs to be addressed, especially if you feel low for weeks at a time.

October is National Depression Screening month. VOICES is pleased to offer free, anonymous telephone screenings from Monday, October 27 through Wednesday,October 29, between 9 AM and 3 PM. Please call our office at 203-966-3911 if you’d like to be screened or are simply interested in learning more. Parents are also welcome to call, to evaluate whether their children are at risk.

There are a great many things you can do to combat depression once you’ve identified the condition, including exercise, support, therapy and medication. Indeed, depression is highly treatable. You are not alone—please let us help you find the resources you need to feel better. For more information, you may also visit the National Institutes of Health at www.nih.gov.



9/11 Living Memorial Workshop Schedule

VOICES is hosting several 9/11 Living Memorial workshops in the coming months. The workshops provide an opportunity for our staff to work with you to create a permanent family tribute to your loved ones and document memorial foundations and other events that celebrate their lives. We also invite rescue workers and survivors to document your personal first-hand accounts. Please bring items for our staff to digitize such as photographs, memorial programs, written tributes and other information, as well as any tangible items such as quilts, artwork and other mementos you would like us to photograph. We also accept copies of audio and video tapes.  Visit our website for a list of items to consider when creating your archive.     


The 9/11 Living Memorial is a permanent web-based archive commemorating the lives of those who perished and firsthand accounts of rescue workers and survivors of the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Shanksville, PA on September 11, 2001. The multi-faceted archive, located online at www.911livingmemorial.org includes photographs, memorial programs, newspaper articles, personal keepsakes and will include audio and video. Since launching the project in September 2006, VOICES has hosted over 60 workshops in nine states. This year VOICES set a milestone of creating a page for each of the nearly 3,000 victims, along with an individual guestbook so family and friends can submit remembrances. To register for one of the workshops below, contact Michelle Doherty at VOICES of September 11th, (203) 966-3911 or by e-mail to mdoherty@voicesofsept11.org. We also invite you to plan a workshop in your community or to schedule an appointment in our Connecticut office.


KBW, New York
Date: Wednesday, November 5th for KBW families
Time: 10am to 5pm by Appointment
Location: Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, 787 7th Avenue, Fourth Floor, New York, NY

Manhasset, NY
Date: Thursday, November 20th
Time: 11am to 5pm by Appointment
Location: Manhasset Public Library, 30 Onderdonk Avenue, Manhasset, NY 11030


New Brunswick, NJ
Date: Wednesday, December 3rd
Time: 12pm to  5pm by Appointment
Location: New Brunswick Development Corporation, 120 Albany Street, Tower 1, Seventh Floor
New Brunswick, NJ 08901


KBW, New York
Date: Wednesday, December 10th for KBW families
Time: 10am to 5pm by Appointment
Location: Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, 787 7th Avenue, Fourth Floor, New York, NY


VOICES Teleconference Support Group Schedule:

Tuesday, October 28th:Parents Teleconference Group 3:45pm to 5:00pm




Sunday, November 2nd, 2008 and Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

Run for Johanna
Run for Johanna will be entering its fourth year-expanded and improved! This year the group  is growing! Fifteen fearless explorers will be running this year in both New York (11/2) and Philadelphia (11/23) to honor Johanna's life.
On this seventh anniversary of September 11th tragedy, we are asking that you help us to honor Johanna's memory at this year's New York and Philadelphia Marathons by making a special tax-deductible donation to St. Malachy Elementary School, a school that serves a diverse population of low-income, North Philadelphia students.

Mail donation to Dan Pickens, 8217 Ardmore Avenue, Wyndmoor, PA 19038
For more information contact: picklip@comcast.net or call 215-233-2757
Wednesday, November 5th, 2008
Fall Fundraising Event 'Billy Elliott' (The Musical)
Fred Gabler Helping Hand Camp Fund Fundraiser
Billy Elliot (The Musical)
Imperial Theater
249 West 45th Street
New York City
Price: $190 PER Ticket
RSVP by August 30th
Fred Gabler Helping Hand Camp Fund Events

If you would like to include your upcoming event in our calendar, please forward the information to events@voicesofsept11.org


In the News


Family Members Can Apply to Attend Guantanamo Tribunals

Family members of those who died on 9/11 can apply to the Office of Military Commissions if they wish to attend the proceedings at Guantanamo. Family members' names will be included in a pool of names and randomly selected by computer. The judge has scheduled the next hearings in the Mohammed 9/11 case at Guantanamo for December 8, 2008. Click here to view the information from the Department of Defense on travel to Guantanamo and on the random selection process.


Commissioner Honors Police Officers who Died From Ground Zero Related Illnesses

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly honored eight NYPD officers who became ill and died after working at Ground Zero after the attacks. The Commissioner presented family members with Distinguished Service Medals. Read the full story in the Daily News.


Freedom Tower Construction Rises Above Street Level

The concrete core of the Freedom Tower has now risen above street level, the New York Times Reports. The core, made from specially reinforced concrete, will rise to 1,293 feet high. The Port Authority noted the development on its new World Trade Center site. Learn more about the core construction here. To see a photo set about the World Trade Center Progress, click here.


NY Vendors Break Ground Zero Rules

Vendors selling World Trade Center souvenirs and other memorabilia have been breaking the no-sell rules around the Ground Zero site, according to a report by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. The Daily News reports the Borough President?s staff found more than 50 vendors in the 5-block area that is supposed to be off limits to street peddlers. Read the full story.


DHS Will Not Meet 2012 Port Cargo Scanning Deadline

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS)says it will not meet a 2012 deadline set by Congress to scan cargo containers bound for United States ports, reports USA Today. In 2006, Congress passed a mandate that ordered 100% of imports to be scanned for radioactive and nuclear elements before leaving foreign docks-- a process that has already shown a number of complications, including timeliness and high costs as well as loss of profit. Homeland Security has announced a different plan that looks at the countries shipping the U.S. bound goods. But shipping companies are not satisfied with either solution. Frank Vargo of the National Association of Manufacturer told USA Today that the DHS plan will slow trade and could cost the industry up to $20 billion a year. "It will result in a two-day — maybe a five-day — delay before that container (is cleared) and can be loaded onto a ship," he said. Read more about the cargo scanning.