STRENGTH IN NUMBERS



Millions of small kindnesses
add up to a number bigger than 9-11



W HAT CAN we do to help?


That was the question asked by people across the country------- and the world—following last year’s terrorist attacks Within hours, Americans were donating whatever they could and doing what-ever they could—to help the rescue and recovery efforts. As the weeks and months passed, people found countless creative ways to lift the spirits of a nation shaken by the worst tragedy in its history.

                      Here are just a few of those stories:

         



NEWFOUNDLAND

On September 11, 2001, Lloyd George was ending a Salvation Army meeting in Lewisporte when his cell phone rang. Hanging up, he told his committee: “There’s been an emergency in the United States.”‘they need our town” Thirty-eight U.S. bound planes with 6595 passengers and crew had been diverted to a nearby airport.


Lewisporte (pop. 4000) threw open its schools, churches and social clubs to take as many as they could. Mayor Bill Hooper had all the temporary shelters wired with extra phone lines and cable TV Townspeople delivered bedding, underwear and pajamas, and served hot meals three times a day. Doctors and nurses went on 24 hour call; pharmacies filled prescriptions for free. In the evenings the Newfound-landers entertained their guests with folk songs, poems, karaoke.


Recalls one passenger, “Short of being home, we were in the best place I can imagine at a terrible time. We felt safe, cared for, welcomed.” When flights finally began ferrying people home, grateful passengers pledged to start a college fund for r Lewisporte students. By July, 2002, the figure had reached $50,000.00

    ----DEBRA GORDON

  Family Circle



MISSOURI

Students at the Saint Peter Catholic Parish School of Religion in St.Charles knew that the children who’d lost parents on September 11, 2001, would need something to hold on to. So they created a makeshift factory in the school cafeteria and worked for weeks to make teddy bears for the kids. The result: nearly 300 stuffed calico teddy bears with button eyes and ribboned necks.for the kids. Also, stitched into each one was a tiny red felt heart.


Saint Peter’s sent the bears to a Connecticut organization helping grieving children. Soon afterward parishioners received a thank-you plaque—covered with many photographs of the children holding their bears.

                 ROBIN SEATON JEFFERSON,

                     The St. Charles Post




    

GEORGIA

“My faith demands I help people,” said Ali Momin. He and cousin Terry, Muslims and co-owners of a Dairy Queen in Columbus, donated the entire proceeds from the business on September 20, 2001, to the United Way’s September 11th Fund. As word got out about what they were doing, lots of folks stopped by: firefighters, soldiers and office workers, pulling the town together. Some 20 employees agreed to work for free that day. As one customer, Julia McKenzie, said, “They’ve probably taken a lot of grief about their religion. For them to do this, it’s a great thing.”

           ------ CHUCK WILLIAMS

 Columbus Ledger~Enquirer



         

NEW YORK

Preparing to walk onto the green carpet for the Westminster Dog Show, New York police officer Pete Davis felt a wave of emotion. America’s most prestigious dog show was breaking tradition to honor over 25 German shepherds, retrievers and other breeds for their tireless work at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.


The dogs and their handlers had come in from all over the country. As they stepped into the center ring at Madison Square Garden, the announcer detailed their search- and-rescue efforts in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. Officer Bobby Schnelle came with Atlas, the first canine on the scene of the Trade Center disaster.


Davis brought Appollo, who was singled out last year for the American Kennel Club’s ACE award for law enforcement. On September 11, 2001, the day the winners were supposed to be announced, he was instead called to duty. Caught in flames while walking on debris after the Towers collapsed, the shepherd survived, and worked through the day.


As the NYPD officers and their .canines stood before the Westminster crowd at Madison Square Garden, the whole arena of more than 10,000 spectators got on their feet and cheered. The search-and-rescue dogs drew the biggest ovation of the show.

              — BEN WALKER

 Associated Press


         

 SOUTH CAROLINA

In 1867, two years after this Confederate stronghold was devastated by fire at the close of the Civil War, a group of New York City firemen made a magnanimous peace offering. They shipped a state-of-the-art hose carriage to Columbia. When it sank in a shipwreck off the Outer Banks, they raised $2,500 (in 1867 dollars) for another.


The Southerners were touched by the gesture and promised to return the favor should similar misfortune ever strike New York Now, some 135 years later, that day has come. Led by a brigade of schoolchildren, Columbia raised $525,000 to buy a new red fire engine for New York


White Knoll Middle School principal Nancy L. Turner conceived the idea and was spurred on by Columbia’s fire chief John D. Jansen Jr., a New York City native, who told her the story of the 1867 gift. As word of the campaign spread, unsolicited contributions poured in daily. Today, as in 1867, a gift may narrow regional differences. According to Turner, since 9/11 even prideful Southerners have come to see New York as the capital of the America heart.


—KEVIN SACK

 The New York Times


         

 PENNSYLVANIA

Inmates at the state prison in Dallas, paid as little as 19 cents an hour for their work, have raised over $1600 to help the neediest of the victims of the September 11th attack.

We wanted to show we’re still human,” said Michael Moore, who’s serving a 19-years-to-life for his part in a robbery that turned deadly. “ ”We wanted to show we still care.” With some giving as little as 50 cents and one giving $100, approx-imately 950 inmates, roughly half the prison’s population, donated the funds.

       — Associated Press


        

FLORIDA

When 53-year-old Ellen Harpin sent a pair of hand-knit burgundy slippers and a scarf off to the USS Bataan, a ship on its way to the Arabian Sea, word came back: “Send More! “ The berthing areas where the servicemen and -women slept were cold; hand-knit items most welcome. Harpin posted a notice on the Internet, asking for volunteers. The response was more than overwhelming.

 

 And so Harpin launched The Ships Project, a group of women 325 strong who send handmade knitted goods and other warm, cozy items to sailors Marines, airmen and ground troops deployed in Operation “Enduring Freedom.” So far deliveries have included over 17,000 gloves, mittens, scarves, hats, slippers, socks and ear-warmers

      —KATE SANTICH

 The Orlando Sentinel


  

NEW YORK CTY

Each and every Friday night, between September 20th and late May, while most of the city slept, a solitary soprano voice rose in prayer in a tent in front of the city’s morgue. The voice belonged to Judith Kaplan, who was performing a sacred service, a Jewish rite for the dead.

 

In the ritual, called sitting .chmira, a watcher reads the Book of Psalms for the souls of the departed. Since the attacks, Kaplan and other students from Stern College for Women, a part of Yeshiva University, have been taking part in round-the-clock shifts, providing a vigil for the World Trade Center victims. Other volunteers sit shmira during the week, but live too far from the morgue to continue their vigil on the Sabbath. From nightfall Friday through Saturday, devout Orthodox Jews can’t ride subways or taxis. Kaplan and her classmates filled in part of that time by working the midnight to 5 a.m. shift. It was an uneasy feeling at first for the women to pray for so many who were unknown and unidentifiable. But as a seasoned watcher remarked, “By the time your shift finishes, you don’t want to leave.” Praying resolved their fear.

 

Rabbi Allen Schwartz of Congregation Ohab Zedek said that he was stunned by the overwhelming dedication. “For this to have been done for months on end is a tremendous thing,” he said. “I’m amazed at the selflessness.”

                —JAMES J. SMITH

 Guideposts

         


         

MARYLAND

It was late September, and anguish still ran deep. Girl Scout Troop 1472, based in a northern suburb of Annapolis, had a garden project in the works before the 11th. Sheryl McGlory, 18, a member of this troop made up of high school seniors, had initially suggested planting a tree. Now, she and the ten other girls wanted to do something more than a tree.

 

M aybe several trees, they thought. No, a garden with a plant for each country affected by the attacks on September 11. 2001. By the start of November, over 900 Girl Scouts from Severna Park and other nearby towns had gotten involved. On a 40-by-40-foot square at the entrance to Kinder Farm Park, the girls created the Hope Memorial Garden.


As the region began a dry winter, the girls and their helpers spent two weeks planting 86 short, twiggy shrubs. Months passed. The grass turned green, but the twigs stayed brown. Maybe the shrubs had been planted too late. “We’re like, we planted a dead garden,” McGlory says. Then, on a newly warm day as a light rain fell, McGlory visited the garden and was stunned to see rows of new lime-green leaves and white flowers. Hummingbird and Ruby Spice clethras rustled with petite white and pinkish flowers, and the beautyberries would soon bear bright, inky fruit. Birds were chirping and chasing one another, and on the garden’s edge, a jogger slowed down to look.


Even without the garden name on a plaque, the spring air seemed really filled with the spirit of renewal and hope.

     -----DARRAGH. JOHNSON

 The Washington Post

NETHERLANDS

The Dutch, responsible for sending New York City its first settlers, have now sent something more: They’ve donated flowers to help the city remember its fallen heroes. In October, 2001, an army of volunteer gardeners got busy planting more than 1,000,000 flower bulbs—yellow daffodils and yellow and orange tulips—in parks and gardens across the city. This spring ribbons of yellow flowers blossomed, serving as a permanent, golden, living remembrance of those who lost their lives.


                     MICHAEL 0. ALLEN                   The New York Daily News

 


NEVADA

Eighth-grader Chantyl Peterson of Henderson, Los Vegas’s neighbor, loves horse-back riding and playing the flute. (Not at the same time, dummy) But eleven years ago she was dying of aplastic anemia, a disease that stops the function of the bone marrow. The only hope for a cure was a transplant, and none of her family was a match.


Fortunately for Chantyl, 37-year-old New York City firefighter Terry Farrell, who had signed up with the National Marrow Donor Program Registry, turned out to be a perfect match. During a 45-minute procedure, Farrell’s marrow was sent into Chantyl intravenously, turning her type AB blood into his A positive blood. The girl recovered quickly. Eventually, Chantyl learned her donor’s name, and they exchanged calls and letters. She first met Farrell, the married father of two, in 1994. The six-year-old rode his fire truck and ate lunch with him in an 87th-floor office of friends at the World Trade Center. Sitting by a window overlooking the city, they talked about the power of one.

The family surprised Farrell with a second visit in 1999. Chantyl’s mom, Sheri, recalls hugging him—saying, “See you again in another five years. Then came September 11, 2001.


Hearing of the attacks, Chantyl asked her mother, “Is Terry in trouble? Does he need help?” “I told her we really need to pray for him,” Sheri says. In fact, Farrell had died, like so many other firefighters trying to save lives. In late October, his body was found in the rubble of the South Tower. On October 30, the Peterson family flew to New York again—to say goodbye. Chantyl recited part of the closing prayer at the funeral.


A New York-based marrow donor program organized by a retired firefighter has been re-christened to include Farrell’s name. “I think he’s an angel,” says Sheri. I “When he saved Chantyl ‘s life, he saved a family.” Chantyl keeps a photo album of him in her bedroom, and her computer screen-saver says, “I love Terry Farrell.” She likes knowing that her quiet hero lives on in her. “I keep thinking he was meant for me,” she says

.—ANGIE WAGNER

 Associated Press



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