9/11 A Story of Goodness, Hope and the Power of Teddy Bears, Teamwork and an Idea - Pegine

9/11 A Story of Goodness, Hope and the Power of Teddy Bears, Teamwork and an Idea

#September11 #TheTeddyBearProject #OneIdeaMakesADifference

I got the call from my sister-in-law, “just turn on the TV.”

We had just moved to Florida from New York. David and I are born and raised in NYC kids. Our family tradition had been, since the time the children were born, to go to the World Trade Center, have breakfast on a Saturday morning and watch the photographers take wedding pictures, while we ate a croissant and coffee with the kids. Then we walked to Canal Street and did shopping. It was our family tradition.

Every year we would also go to Jimmy Curran, his wife Maryilyn’s house for their annual fireman’s celebration. Jimmy and Marilyn were friends of my family since I was a teen Jimmy had been the Captain of NYCFD Rescue One. And was also the president of the New York City Firefighters Burn Unit. He had become the trainer of every firefighter for a high-level risk recovery.

Every school in our school district in Fl was running the news on the TV in classrooms. The local school called that my daughter was hysterical. We went to pick her up. We sat and stayed covered in blankets watching the news. She was crying, I was crying, and my husband was crying.

I’m a trained social worker, and in New York, I was a volunteer crisis social worker. By 10:30, Jimmy gave me a call. He was at the burn center with a hundred retired firefighter captains waiting for hurt firefighters to arrive. He called to say that not one firefighter arrived at the Burn Center. Not one survived.

Throughout the day, I stayed on the phone with him counseled him, loved him, and listened to him. Meanwhile, He was holding crisis counseling for the other firefighters at the burn unit at the same time.

At 3 in the afternoon, Jimmy called me to tell me the first funeral would be on that Friday. We cried.

We all went to bed. Next morning Andrea woke up and was hysterical. Being a typical mother, I was exhausted, not prepared to deal with this, and I lashed out at her. “Andrea, stop crying and do something.”

I was thinking she would write a note or draw a picture. At that moment she was holding her teddy bear Disco. This was September 12th. She said, “I’m going to collect teddy bears so that all the children of lost firefighters have something to hold onto during the funerals.” She asked, “Can I call Jimmy?”

She did call him. Together they conspired to collect teddy bears, ship them to New York City, and deliver them to all the funerals so the children of lost firefighters had a teddy to hold onto. A 12-year-old and a 60+ year old became a team and were mission-focused.

Andrea called the school principal and told her what she was going to do and asked for help. Two of the local teachers, Tina Reed and Abby Gilliamsen said they would help her spearhead it. Andrea called the local TV stations connected with a local anchor, Jeannie Blaylock who immediately started putting it out onto the news and helped spread it all over the state. Thank you, Jeannie.Thank you, Tina and Abby and Principal Beverly Gordon

Meanwhile, in New York, Jimmy organized all the retired fire captains. One donated an empty house he had so the teddy bears can be delivered there. Every Captain was assigned a funeral. And they organized A procession to be able to hand teddy bears to all the children at every funeral, in full fireman honors.

Jimmy called to say that they needed 300 and 6 teddy bears by Friday morning. We called FedEx, we called United Parcel Service, we asked for help none of them complied. I called Stacy Teschner of the National Speakers Association and ask for help. He gave us their FedEx number, and because of that help, Jimmy and his team were able to deliver teddy bears to the funerals. Thank you, Stacey.

Meanwhile, Andrea had organized a teddy bear process. Hundreds of people were donating teddy bears. They were buying out lots of teddy bears and all the stores. Prisoners and local prisons made handmade teddy bears to be delivered, New York. People gave up their teddy bear collections.

Hundreds of students made long lines. Each line had a purpose. Tied red white and blue ribbons around the necks of the teddy bears. Added handwritten notes from the students to every teddy bear. Another packing the teddy bears in plastic bags and putting them in boxes. Another group labeled the boxes for delivery. Every teddy was hugged by each child.

Andrea and the teachers organized a teddy bear Hospital for the teddy bears donated that weren’t in good shape. They were repaired fixed up.

We received some huge teddy bears, each was donated to all the firehouses in New York City, delivered by the retired fire captains.

TriBridge shippers donated a truck, the driver donated his time. 3,600 teddy bears were delivered. Firefighters unpacked the teddies, wrote their own notes, and added them to the teddies. Just like the kids, they hugged every teddy. They delivered the precious teddies to every funeral in a somber procession. Thank you, Tribridge.

Thank you, NYC Firefighters Burn Center. Thank you, NYC FireFighters.

Years later, I was presenting at the national Girl Scouts Training Center. I shared the story about Andrea and the teddy bear project. A woman stood up, and With Tears In Her Eyes shared that her daughter received one of the teddy bears at her dad’s funeral. She just started as a freshman in college and took the teddy bear everywhere.

This project taught me that love abounds, that people are good, that people from such diverse backgrounds Unite in love and do the right thing.

The people in the world are good. There are a few bad apples, they are so small compared to the millions and billions of people with an abundance of love, caring, and appreciation for each other.





Posted in influence and impact, Inspiration, Motivation, Success on September 11, 2019 by Pegine.
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