honoring 9/11 victims and heroes

Glenn Winuk, an attorney and volunteer firefighter who helped evacuate his company’s law offices on September 11, 2001, perished in the South Tower collapse that morning.

According to his brother, Jay, “Glenn lived his life and died in service to others… he did what firefighters do: race towards danger as others wisely run away from it.”

In 2002, Jay Winuk and his friend, David Paine, both public relations professionals, decided they wanted to pay tribute to the victims by turning the anniversary of 9/11 in to a day of service. In this way, Winuk would honor the way Glenn lived his life and shine a light on the compassionate way people responded to 9/11 all over the world.

Winuk and Paine organized MyGoodDeed, a nonprofit with the mission of transforming 9/11 “from a day of evil into a day of good.” They worked with Congress to designate 9/11 a federally-recognized national day of service. That happened in 2009, under the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. It is now the largest national day of service in the U.S.

“It’s my life’s passion now. It’s wonderful to bring people together each 9/11 and to do good deeds,” says Winuk. “At least one day a year, we can all focus on the things that bring us together.”

Winuk asks people to mark the day in any way they find meaningful to them. People can choose any good deed to deliver on — one that is self-directed or organized.

This year, MyGoodDeed will recognize the day on board the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum at Pier 86 in Manhattan, as they did in 2017 when they packed 589,000 non-perishable meals and distributed them to hungry New Yorkers and Hurricane Harvey victims.

“For me, this is a labor of love for my brother but it’s grown into something so much bigger, explains Winuk. “What was very sad at the beginning has turned into a point of personal inspiration.”

For more information on places to volunteer on 9/11, visit www.911day.org.

Susie Aybar

Susie Aybar

Susie Aybar, BSN, MFA, is a writer based in Westchester County. A published poet, Susie facilitates a “Healing Through Writing” class for people who are affected by cancer at Gilda’s Club in White Plains.
Susie Aybar

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