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2012-09-06

Millions perform good deeds on 9/11 Day

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

In 2002, two friends, David Paine and Jay Winuk, decided to make something positive come out of the tragedy of 9/11. They had worked together in New York City for years, and Winuk's younger brother, Glenn, was one of the almost 3,000 victims of that day.

The friends formed a non-profit group that first aimed to help victims' families, but the organization was later named MyGoodDeed. They were joined by over 20 other leaders in the 9/11 community to build support for an official 9/11 Day observance.

In 2009, this group, along with widespread support of the 9/11 community and strong bi-partisan backing, succeeded in having Sept. 11 designated a National Day of Service and Remembrance as a part of the Edward M. Kennedy ServeAmerica Act.

Since that accomplishment, 9/11 Day has become an international movement to "observe Sept. 11 every year as a day of charitable service and doing good deeds," the group's website says.

Paine and Winuk said their aim was to "provide a positive way to forever remember and pay tribute to the 9/11 victims, honor those that rose in service in response to the attacks, and remind people of the importance of working more closely together in peace to improve our world."

Today, millions participate in the program each year and invite everyone to do a good deed to help others in need.

Last year, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the attack, MyGoodDeed partnered with HandsOn Network, a part of the Points of Light Institute, to organize the "single largest day of charitable service in United States History."

Thirty-three million people responded.

This year, the organization once again aims to involve millions of participants, not only in America, but around the world.

More information about the project can be found at the MyGoodDeed website, as well as the 9/11 Day Facebook page, or follow them on Twitter at #911day.

At 911day.org individuals, businesses, non-profits, schools and other organizations can post their own 9/11 plans, dedicate their service to 9/11 victims by name, and find out about volunteer activities planned for their own communities.

Participants in the project may email their good deeds (named in the subject line of the email) and images to 911day.org@aerva.com. Pledges to participate are called "I Will" pledges, as in "I will drive my elderly neighbor around town to do her errands on 9/11," or "I will pick up trash on my neighborhood streets and dispose of it properly on 9/11," or even, "I will donate a day's pay to a local non-profit organization on 9/11."

"What began as a simple but powerful idea 10 years ago in the wake of our national tragedy has grown into an extraordinarily meaningful, forward-looking global observance in honor of those lost," said Winuk, now MyGoodDeed's executive vice president. "9/11 Day is truly making a difference for people and communities in need, not only in this country but around the world, and we are grateful to all the millions who participate each year."

The Courier encourages Bandera County residents to join in this effort to pay tribute by helping someone in need.