As I prepare for my first meeting with a client during New York Fashion Week, I check my suit, my make-up, my hair, my jewelry. I have my notes, my journal. My phone is charged. Everything is in order. My meeting is just a block away, so I can walk on this bright and luminous morning.
I step outside the hotel, blink in the sun and I hear, in a powerful, gloriously clear and beautiful voice,
'And the rockets' red glare,
The bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night,
That our flag was still there''
And like a magnet, the passion of our national anthem pulls me across the street, to a tiny tree lined park. A park I hadn't noticed before. In front of me are firefighters from around the corner on 48th Street, Firehouse Engine Company 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9, with their hands on their hearts. Military personnel saluting. People standing at attention, silent, with their hands on their breasts. I put my hand on my heart and stand straight and silent. How did I not remember what day this was?
9/11. This gathering of a few dozen people is a tribute to the men and woman who gave their lives saving others and those caught in the destruction. First responders, like the firefighters, police, medics, caring citizens who thought to return and help others instead of themselves.
My eyes start to tear up and I tell myself, 'No, you're not supposed to cry in public.' Then it strikes me, how else can I pay tribute to all those who gave their lives to save others? How can I remember all those innocent individuals who lost their lives because a handful of people hate folks who have a different way of thinking than they do? Then, it occurs to me, my tears. I can pay homage to these brave people with my tears.
The national anthem over, the crowd applauds and I continue down the block, to my meeting, the tears now streaming down my face. But now I am not embarrassed by my tears, I am proud to be able to honor all those brave souls lost or injured during the events of September 11 with my small tribute. It's all I have to give right now and so I gratefully give my tears freely.
-Diane Weisbeck, 9/16
Review from #MyGivingStory
I. Pre-Sept 11 - As background to this story, I worked at an unnamed public health agency from June 1999 to May 2001. During this time, I felt developing programs with firefighters on chronic disease management and hazardous materials was important priority. Unfortunately, the staff at the unnamed public health agency did not agree. As local firefighters pleaded for this program, it was pointed out to me that I was on the wrong track and any work I did with firefighters was investigated. Senior leaders used cartoon pictures of firefighters hosing down patients to manage chronic diseases in their professional presentations to help me understand I should be focusing on issues to understand the anthropology of disease. Under threat of termination, I left this agency and went to work for an unnamed weather agency in May 2001. The senior leaders of public health laughed at the absurdity of working at a weather agency and told me to come back when I understood the anthropology of disease.
II. I arrived at the weather agency in May 2001 only to have the events of September 11, 2001 unfold a few months later. I learned that the unnamed agency no longer focused on anthropology of disease and created an office focused on bio-terrorism and emergency response. . It was hard to forget those firefighters pleading for help prior to September 11, 2001. Even to this present day, I was determined to fight for those firefighters in everything I do and I became volunteer for the National Fallen Firefighters. My supervisor at the weather agency pointed out that meteorologists were focused on hurricanes and they would like me to help develop health policy for hospitals and first responders--even allowing me to dedicate to the 9/11 firefighters a weather preparedness guide for hospitals and first responders. From 2001 -2005, I worked with on this guidebook with hospitals around the U.S and gave presentations at medical conferences--right up to August 2005 two weeks prior to Hurricane Katrina.
III. After Hurricane Katrina, public health staff from the unnamed agency began to visit the weather agency. In 2007 -2010, The public health staff began to change the focus from hospital & first responder preparedness to focus on infectious disease, air quality and heat. The guidebook for hospitals and first responders was never allowed to be completed. I was informed I could no longer work on health issues and reassigned to work in the area of policy. Now, I work in developing road weather technology for emergency vehicles to optimize routing when weather disrupts & delays the emergency vehicle and to improve weather scene safety for first responders. It is my hope this will support the work of the National Fallen Firefighters to prevent future firefighter deaths and injuries and never forget those firefighters who died on 9/11/2001.
Review from #MyGivingStory
In January my wife and I found a new family, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. Our son Shane Daughetee a volunteer with the Highway 58 Volunteer Fire Department, Tennessee, died in the line of Duty. The foundation and all the survivors families have been so supportive. I don't know what survivor families would do without the four fashion. It is hard to go in such detail what the foundation means. You have to be a part of it to understand.
I am an Administrative Assistant with a fire district in northern IL; we are in our 8th year of running the Chicagoland Memorial Golf Tournament to benefit the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF). We also hold the only national Fire Service Survivor Retreat the day prior to our tournament for surviving families of LODDs in IL, for the past four years. My committee and I are dedicated to the mission of NFFF and along with various local sponsors will continue to support the foundation to the best of our ability. Thank you to all who help us to support the families who have lost so much!
Our company has been a supporter of the NFFF for many years. My role in this relationship is pretty new, but I have found the NFFF easy to work with. The programs we are involved with are well ran, and provide benefit to the NFFF. They have been also very willing to help educate me on their programs and their needs while not losing site that we still have a business to run. I would recommend the foundation as a partner, and look forward to working with them for years to come.
I have been volunteering and contributing to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation since 09/11/2001. I have seen first hand the efforts made with the families of Firefighters who have died in the line of duty. Words fail me as I think of each of the families who in the lowest point of their lives are given a helpful empathetic hand. We owe so much to these individuals who are willing to run toward trouble when everyone else is running away.
The NFFF is a great organization doing amazing work with the families of Firefighters who have lost their lives on the job. For many years our company has supported the NFFF as the leading charitable organization for the Fire Service. Their organization is strong and their efforts are well recognized and respected within the industry.
I am a fulltime Firefighter and a volunteer Firefighter. I have always supported the NFFF for many years. 4 years ago I was nudged into putting on one of the many golf tournaments 'held across America to raise money for the NFFF to help LODD survivor families. The NFFF offers so many programs to help the families after a Line of duty death, many that I didn't even know about until I started our golf tournament. I have made many close friends with other Golf Coordinators and the staff at the Foundation, who all have a common goal. Running a golf tournament requires a lot of time and work to put one on, but I love doing it and I have never been more proud and Honored to be a small part of this great organization.
Our company has been a supporter of the NFFF for numerous year and is one of numerous non-profit organizations we support. I can honestly say that there is no better non-profit in the fire service/first responder industry. Other than saluting the NFFF's mission which is second to none, the organization is extremely well operated with only a small portion of dollars going to administrative purposes. The staff is amazing with both the corporate partners like ourselves and even more so with the survivors. Working with the NFFF is not only enjoyable but very heart warming and fulfilling.
Our son John Sayles died in the line of duty on November 14 2012. He was 38 years old, and a husband, father, brother, and uncle. The NFFF has been there for us helping in any way needed. Tom and I have been to 3 survivors conferences and we have met friends we can call on any time day or night. The hole in our hearts will never go away but knowing people care and are there for you helps. TOM & Ann Sayles
The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation has three main responsibilities, which are so noteworthy and honorable. 1) They honor those who have died in the line of duty as a firefighter or emergency responder. 2) They assist the surviving family and co-workers of the fallen to assure they get the professional assistance and resource assistance required. 3) They try to prevent line of duty deaths and injuries from occurring...with good success! I have seen all three of these missions in action and they are so effective!
In 2008, Our son, Kevin Patrick, died in the line of duty as a member of the Newport Beach Fire Department. The services held for Kevin were heartwarming, with hundreds of firefighters attending, both local and out of state. We thought that was the end of our association with the fire service. We were wrong, very, very wrong. Thanks to a letter we received from a fellow firefighter survivor, we learned of the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation, and the Survivor's Group. We became involved in 2011 by attending our first Survivors Conference in San Antonio, Tx, and we were immediately accepted as "Family". We have attended every annually conference since, and have made lifelong friends. We all have a couple things in common. We have lost a loved one, and we are learning not only to live with that fact, but to appreciate the feelings of all the other survivors. We consider the National Fallen Fighter Foundation our extended family, and we volunteer to assist them in any way possible here on the West Coast.
. We have lost a loved one
Throughout the year, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) honors the nation's fallen firefighters and provides critical services to the surviving families of these great American heroes. Supporting the NFFF is a great way for each of us to say thank you for the sacrifices of these firefighters and their loved ones. It is my honor to play a role in contributing to the mission of this loving, generous and committed organization - and I hope you will do the same!
I, personally, have had the pleasure of working with the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation for the past two years. Myself, along with other members of my community and the Village of Kronenwetter Fire Department coordinate a 9/11 memorial event each September called Run For The Fallen.
We have chosen to have this event benefit the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation because of the support they provide for the families and coworkers of fallen fire personnel throughout the U.S.
In planning this event, we have had the honor and privilege of meeting several Survivor Families in the State of Wisconsin who have shared their stories of loss and how the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation has assisted them during this time of unimaginable grief. Hearing these stories pushes us that much harder to help us raise awareness for this amazing organization.
Thank-you to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation for honoring our Nation's Fallen Fire Heroes and providing your unwavering support to those who carry on.
Thank you for all that you do.
RUN FOR THE FALLEN
Giving Back and Giving To
In 1997 I was introduced to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, not in a way I would have chosen. You see, my husband was a 31 year member of the Blauvelt Volunteer Fire Company was killed in the line of duty in 1996, rescuing his family in a house fire in which our 6 year old son also died. I received an invitation to come to the annual Memorial Weekend in October of 1997 when my husband and all other firefighters who died in the line of duty in 1996 would be honored.
My surviving sons were 8 and 4 years old at the time and we were having a difficult time coping with this tragedy. When we attended the weekend my family were part of a inspirational service that helped us on our journey of grief and healing. I was so touched by the weekend that I sent a letter of thanks and the Foundation invited us to come back the following year to lead the Pledge of Allegiance at the 1998 Memorial Service.
Since then I have given back for what they did and still do for us. I have attended every Memorial Weekend as a volunteer (except for one due to illness). I am part of the Survivor Support Network where I reach out to new survivors, write cards of remembrance, and attend trade shows representing the Foundation as a survivor
As a non profit the Foundations funding is through grants and there are many expenses to support the programs that they not only provide for survivors but for firefighters to help reduce line of duty deaths. The staff works so hard exploring opportunities for more funding for survivors. My son has benefited as a college scholarship recipient.
Not knowing of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation until the death of my husband, it is now my mission to bring awareness to our country to let people know of the giving the Foundation does and how we need to give back to them.
Review from #MyGivingStory