Everyday Heroes

Two Friends Start "9/11" Day to Honor Victims and Encourage Kindness

After one of them lost his brother in the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, they wanted to do something big.

While the date of September 11th marks a day of terrible tragedy, it's also known as the National Day of Service and Remembrance, or 9/11 Day.

Two friends, David Paine and Jay Winuk, founded 9/11 Day after Jay lost his brother, Glenn Winuk, in the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center in New York City. Jay was an attorney who worked in lower Manhattan, and he was also a volunteer firefighter and EMT in their hometown of Jericho, Long Island. The day of the attacks, Glenn rushed into the burning tower to try and save lives.

"Glenn always put others ahead of himself, and he sacrificed his life the way he lived it, helping others in need." - Jay Winuk

In 2002, David and Jay got to work with other 9/11 leaders, many who also lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks, and started a non-profit organization now called MyGoodDeed. Over the next 7 years, the group helped to pass bipartisan legislation that formally declared September 11th as a National Day of Service and Remembrance under federal law.

9/11 Day Facebook

Fast forward to today, and 9/11 Day is now the nation's largest annual day of charitable engagement with more than 15 million Americans participating by volunteering, donating to charities and performing simple good deeds in remembrance of victims of terrorism.

Check out the video below to hear 9/11 Day co-founder Jay Winuk talk about last year's success.

"Ultimately we wanted something positive to come from the loss of so many innocent people in such a terrible way," David said. "Here in the United States, we didn't want the terrorists to forever define how 9/11 would be remembered for generations to come. Instead we wanted our children to learn about how the nation responded in the immediate aftermath of the attacks; the remarkable spirit of unity and compassion that was briefly shared by so many."

The 9/11 Day website offers many resources for those looking to use the day to volunteer in their communities. You can simply click the Volunteer link and enter your city to find local opportunities.

Volunteers from Citibank help prepare meals at last year's 9/11 Day initiative in NYC. 9/11 Day Facebook

If you can't volunteer on 9/11 there are still ways to help out, including an actionable list of good deeds and donating directly to the organization.

This year, the 9/11 Day team is helping to "turn a day of tragedy into a day of good" by collecting donations to prepare meals for Hurricane Dorian victims and others who need them. So far, the organization has collected over 2 million dollars and they're on track to pack 3.1 million meals.

9/11 Day Facebook

Are you participating in any charitable efforts on 9/11 Day? We'd love to hear about it. Sign up at Sparkt, share your story, and help us make a difference.

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