Skip to main content

Our deepest sympathies are with all those who were affected by the deadly shooting that occurred in Las Vegas last night, and with the brave individuals who risked their lives in responding. There are no words to adequately describe the profound sadness we all feel today.

September was a busy month for us at VOICES! Thanks to all who contributed to the success of this year's events. On September 5 we hosted our 3rd Annual Golf Outing at the Country Club of Fairfield. Fortunately, the weather cooperated and the participants had another beautiful day of golf overlooking the Long Island Sound.

On the 16th Anniversary, we gathered once again - in New York City, at the Pentagon, in Shanksville, PA, and in our local communities to remember and reflect. Much like September 11, 2001, the air was crisp, the sky was cloudless and the sun shined brightly.

Join us for VOICES 16th Annual Day of Remembrance Information Forum! Once again we will provide an informative program including presentations, panel discussions and round-table conversations designed to promote healing and resilience in the 9/11 community. The program is free of charge for 9/11 family members, survivors and responders and the dedicated professionals who are supporting them in a variety of ways.

A day-long program of clinically informed presentations from leading clinicians and subject matter experts working in the field of trauma. The program is designed for mental health professionals, victims' services, emergency managers, law enforcement and other community stakeholders. 5 social work CEU's available Victims' families, survivors and responders impacted by terrorism and mass violence are invited to attend as our guests.

Although not commonly discussed, mental health challenges are actually very common. Approximately 1 in 5 adults - 43.8 million Americans - experience mental illness in a given year; however, only 41% received mental health services in the past year. Left untreated, mental health issues can result in lost earnings, hospitalization, medical issues including substance use/abuse, leaving school or employment, incarceration, and in some cases suicide.

The bombing in Manchester this week - attacking children and their parents - was another visceral reminder of the unimaginable consequences of terrorism. The frequency of terrorist acts on innocent people going about their daily routines, most recently this morning in Egypt, is unconscionable. Since the attack we are working with our international partners to offer our support.

We want to take this opportunity to build awareness about the World Trade Center Health Program and the medical and psychological conditions covered. To date, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified nearly 60 cancers that 9/11 survivors and responders have developed as a result of their exposures to the toxins in Lower Manhattan after the attacks.

On December 18, 2015, Congress approved the extension of the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which provides compensation and medical and mental health treatment to first responders and survivors of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. One year later, there are still thousands of people who qualify for the benefits but have not yet signed up.

It is estimated that over 400,000 people were in Lower Manhattan on 9/11 and in the months afterward. Fifteen years later, many survivors are experiencing symptoms of the same life-threatening medical and psychological conditions as the responders who worked in the recovery effort.

The 15th Anniversary was a milestone, especially for those of us who were impacted on September 11, 2001. As we gathered in New York City, at the Pentagon in Shanksville, PA, or in our local communities, we remembered the 2,977 innocent citizens who lost their lives that day.

This afternoon, the House Intelligence Committee released the now-declassified 28 pages from the 2002 official report, Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001. Over the years, many 9/11 family members and lawmakers have worked tirelessly to advocate for this information to be made available to the American public.

This morning the deadliest shooting in U.S. history occurred at a night club in Orlando, Florida. Recognizing that our membership resides around the country and abroad, we want to provide information in case you may have a loved one that was impacted by this tragic event. Family members and friends who want to report a missing person or obtain information should call 407-246- 4357.

This Monday, May 30 marks the 148th observance of Memorial Day, where we honor and remember the brave men and women who have lost their lives while serving in our military. Since September 11, 2001, more than 2.5 million service members have been deployed to the Middle East, and thousands have given their lives in the line of duty.

On Wednesday, April 6, 2016, VOICES hosted our New Jersey Symposium, "Promoting Resiliency in Communities Impacted by Trauma." The event featured presentations by accomplished subject matter experts and clinicians working in the fields of trauma, grief and disaster mental health.

Join us for VOICES Center of Excellence for Community Resilience New Jersey Symposium, Promoting Resilience in Communities Impacted by Trauma on Wednesday, April 6, 2016.

Our thanks to the hundreds of 9/11 and Air India family members who participated in VOICES Research Project, "Investigating the Long-Term Impact of Bereavement Due to Terrorism: Factors That Contribute to Trauma, Grief, Growth and Resilience."   We recognize that this may have been an emotional experience, and we appreciate your time and important insights.

We hope this finds you well. As we begin 2016, we would like to highlight VOICES ongoing initiatives that continue into the New Year, and notify you of some upcoming deadlines and events. If you have a family member or friend who may benefit from the information, we encourage you to pass it along.

Thanks to the generous support of our donors and partners, VOICES has been able to provide hope and healing to those impacted by traumatic events. Our staff continues to provide critical support services to over 5,100 9/11 families, responders and survivors. We offered a wide range of programs, including distributing information, referrals, assessments, teleconference groups and conferences.

May the gift of hope be yours during the holiday season and the coming year. Happy Holidays from our family to yours! With appreciation for your friendship and support.

I wanted to pass along the wonderful news that Congress has reauthorized the James Zadroga Health and Compensation Act! Today, the U.S. House and Senate passed a spending package that includes funds to extend the World Trade Center Health Program.

Like the rest of the world, I watched in horror as the terrorist attacks unfolded in Paris on Friday evening. It brought back a flood of memories of 9/11, and the feelings of uncertainty, helplessness, and overwhelming sadness. My prayers were with the hostages, and the families of the victims and injured.

We hope this note finds you well and enjoying the beautiful autumn season. It has been a busy two months here at VOICES, and we want to take this opportunity to update you. On Tuesday, September 8th, VOICES hosted our Inaugural Golf Outing at the Country Club of Fairfield.

In June 2015 VOICES launched a research study, "Investigating the Long-Term Impact of Bereavement Due to Terrorism: Factors That Contribute to Trauma, Grief, Growth and Resilience." The study is evaluating the immediate and ongoing needs of family members who lost loved ones on September 11th and in the bombing of Air India Flight 182 on June 23, 1985.

The day-long event will include presentations, panel discussions on the World Trade Center Health Program and reauthorization of the Zadroga Act, and interactive workshops led by accomplished clinicians, authors, and researchers. We are pleased to bring together this group of professionals with expertise in the fields of psychology, research, occupational health, and medicine.