It is with deep sorrow that we regret to inform you that our dear friend and leader, Kurt Wolfgruber, passed away peacefully this morning following a brief, but serious illness. For over a decade Kurt served as Chairman of the Board at Voices of September 11th, with dedication and commitment to ensuring all those impacted by 9/11 had the support they needed to heal.
Responders and survivors stricken with 9/11-related illnesses need our help. In the days and months following the attacks, over 90,000 responders who worked in the recovery effort and 400,000 survivors who lived, worked, or went to school in the area were exposed to toxins in Lower Manhattan. Today over 40,000 are in treatment for life-threatening illnesses, including over 100 cancers. With each passing day others are diagnosed and sadly, over 2,100 have died.
During the month of May we are promoting Mental Health Awareness, a cause that is near and dear to our hearts. VOICES has always been a staunch proponent of promoting resiliency through education and connecting individuals with resources that promote mental health wellness. Building awareness and destigmatizing treatment for mental health conditions is the first step.
On March 28 and 29, VOICES hosted "Preparing for After: Planning for Effective Response Following Acts of Mass Violence" at Grace Farms, in New Canaan, CT. The trainings provided an overview of VOICES preparedness trainings that document best practices for community stakeholders in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from acts of mass violence.
The heartbreaking news of the recent suicides of two Parkland students and the father of a child who was killed in the Sandy Hook shooting is a sobering reminder of the profound long-term impact these tragedies have on families, survivors, and the community-at-large. At this somber time, we offer our sincere condolences to their families and friends as they try to come to terms with yet another unimaginable loss.
March is National Professional Social Work Month. Did you know that there are over 680,000 social workers in the United States? Social workers play an important role in advocating, educating and helping improve the lives of those they support. Our work at VOICES is fundamentally guided by social work practices and most importantly a steadfast commitment to providing continuity of care for the 9/11 community.
February 12 marks the tenth anniversary when we remember VOICES co-founder Beverly Eckert and the other 49 individuals and an unborn child who perished when Continental Flight 3407 crashed in Buffalo, New York. Beverly was traveling to Buffalo to attend a ceremony at Canisius High School.
We wish you and your family a joyous holiday season with peace, warmth, an joy in the New Year! Happy Holidays from our family to yours!
VOICES Resiliency Symposium: Knowledge to Practice, Pathways to Long-Term Healing was held on Sunday, September 9 in New York City. The event focused on providing a victim-centered approach to responding to acts of terrorism and mass violence and bridging the gap between research and practice.