On July 13th, the program director of our New Brunswick office, Carrie Miller, organized a trip to the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York City with 9/11 responders and survivors from Middlesex County, New Jersey. Carrie, a licensed clinical social worker, accompanied them as they toured the museum and listened to their shared memories of September 11, 2001.
Sponsored by the United Way of Central Jersey (UWCJ), the visit was planned as a way to address an unmet need of 9/11 family members, survivors, and responders. Earlier this year, VOICES conducted a Needs Assessment Survey for members of the 9/11 community who live in Middlesex County. Two of the questions asked were: Are you interested in a small group tour of the museum? Do you think that you will need support or assistance upon entering the museum? Based on the answers to these questions, the New Jersey office staff conducted outreach to family members, survivors, and responders in Middlesex County to invite them to participate in the visit to the Museum.
The eleven in attendance included five rescue and recovery workers and survivors with their guests: sons, spouses, and mothers. Carrie was available to provide assistance to those who might experience anxiety visiting the Museum for the first time. The guests were free to explore the museum on their own. Carrie was pleased to see that they really appreciated the opportunity. Several of the participants sent letters of gratitude following their visit:
“Thank you for the pleasure of attending the trip to the Memorial Museum yesterday. It was an honor, privilege and pleasure to meet these people, to hear their stories and in some part, to hopefully enlarge the scope of their trip to the site after so many years of being absent from the place where they first met the fates of that day.”
“It was a great and helpful experience. After being up there and contemplating what went on, I know I did the right thing, even after what went on, I know I did the right thing. I would do it all over again, even if I knew what the consequences were. Thank you again, and my son also sends you his thanks.”
This past weekend, Carrie and her intern, Lauren Picciallo, brought a group of family members of those lost on 9/11 to the Museum. They were joined by Stephanie Landau, from our New Canaan office, who has worked with hundreds of family members over the past seven years to create their Living Memorial tributes. The staff members commented that they felt honored to accompany members of the 9/11 community during their visit to the museum that commemorates their sacrifice.