More than 1,000 Volunteers Honor First Responders on 9/11

Posted September 18, 2013

579 gallons of paint. 114,187 square feet. Six projects. Five cities. More than a thousand volunteers.

Twelve years after 9/11, The Mission Continues and the 9/11 Day Observance partnered to give back to first responders, remember victims and honor those who rose in response of the attacks through a day of service.

Volunteers came together at service projects in St. Louis, New York City, Dallas, Phoenix and Washington, D.C. and worked alongside fire departments and first responders to re-paint training facilities, landscape outdoor areas, compile care packages and revamp break areas.

“This is stuff we can just not get to,” New York Fire Department Deputy Assistant Chief Jack Mooney said at New York City’s Fire Academy on Randall’s Island.

Volunteer groups from Target, City Group, New York Institute, City Year, AmeriCorps, the Boy Scouts and Benjamin Moore came to the project and built 10 picnic tables, painted two buildings, landscaped and revamped the recruit cafeteria.

Among the volunteer groups in New York City and Washington D.C. were first responders on-duty September 11, 2001.

“The volunteers that came out to the support the project at Fort Totten came from all over New York City. They represented everything from college students to private wealth managers,” said James Casey, service project associate at The Mission Continues.

Casey also attended the D.C. service project, where he and Gail Schnell were presented with President’s Call to Service Awards from the Corporation for National and Community Service. The award is presented to those who have made a commitment to service.

Both Schnell and Casey served in the United States Army, and continued to serve upon returning home from Afghanistan and Iraq, respectively. Schnell completed a Mission Continues Fellowship with the American Legion Auxiliary and now runs her own business. Casey served a fellowship at The Mission Continues, and is now a service project associate at The Mission Continues.

The St. Louis Fire Department Headquarters and Training Facility was also painted — classic Fire Engine Red — and the 237 volunteers also cleared brush, and gave the helicopter landing pad a coat of fresh paint.

The Texas Fire Museum in Dallas and the Salvation Army Maryvale Corps Community Center in Phoenix were also revitalized. In Phoenix, volunteers prepared 2,500 care kits for families of those recently killed in the Yarnell Hill fire.

The 9/11 Day Observance, the international movement established by the nonprofit MyGoodDeed to observe September 11 as a day of charitable service and doing good deeds.