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|Last Updated: Monday, November 05, 2012|
9-11 Patch Project
The 9-11 Patch Project was founded by retired Pasadena Firefighter Brett Hill in 2001 to raise money for the family members of fallen FDNY firefighters and to create a universal remembrance for the 343 heroes who died on September 11, 2001. Since then over 5000 organizations in 22 countries have adopted this tribute, and it has become a symbol of unity among fire, police, EMS, and the United States Military.
History of the 9-11 Patch Project
Formally known as the National Firefighters 9-11 Memorial Patch, Brett Hill came up with the idea for the first design of the patch after meeting a fellow Southern California firefighter who had just returned from Ground Zero. Hill explains, "He had spent two to three weeks there, and as he was leaving he was shaking the hands of some of the firefighters there, and one of them grabbed his hand really tight, looked him straight in the eye, and said, 'Please don't forget us.' And so that kind of stayed with me, and in a few days after that I decided, 'You know what, this is what we need to do, this is my response. We're going to create a tribute uniform patch that everybody can wear as a reminder of the events and sort of to create unity, to bring everybody together.'"
When Hill designed the first patch and subsequent versions of the patch and decals, he incorporated several important aspects into the image, including the World Trade Center skyline with a background of the US flag, the words 'We Will Never Forget' taken from a famous Ground Zero banner, and a firefighter holding an axe rising above the World Trade Center. Hills says this signifies that "it is a huge tragedy, but the fire service as a whole is going to rise above this."
Charities that Benefit from the 9-11 Patch Project
In the past seven years, Hill has distributed the proceeds of the sales of his patches and decals to the UFA Widows and Children's Fund of the FDNY, San Antonio Burned Out Survivors Fund, the Esperanza Firefighters Fund, the Terry Farrell Firefighters Fund, and the World-Memorial. Currently, $.50 of every patch sale is being donated to the Terry Farrell Firefighters Fund, which was founded by the family of Terry Farrell, a fallen FDNY Rescue 4 firefighter, with the mission of helping underfunded fire departments with their equipment needs and the families of fallen firefighters across the United States with their educational and medical needs.
Remembering Heroes and Creating Unity
In the last seven years, over 5,000 organizations in 22 countries have made Brett Hill's 9-11 Patch Project design their permanent tribute, purchasing patches and decals for uniforms, helmets, emergency vehicles and personal vehicles. The patches and decals are being worn by fire, EMS, and law enforcement personnel across the United States and around the world. The patches have also been adopted by many members of the United States military. Hill recalls the first orders he received from the military saying, "The United States military became involved about 2 months after we saw the first orders coming through but what really grabbed me was this picture that was sent in of a pilot from the helicopter combat support group in Afghanistan, flying over the waters of Afghanistan. Right on his uniform is the 9-11 Patch. I thought, 'Wow! That's pretty incredible that we can create unity beyond firefighting and into the military.'"
How To Get 9-11 Patch Project Patches and Decals
Currently, the 9-11 Patch Project is selling two versions of its 10th Anniversary patches and decals. The proceeds of these are being divided between the Terry Farrell Firefighters Fund and the execution of "Nine 11- Twenty 11", the West Coast's largest 9-11 Memorial Tribute program that Brett Hill is planning for the commemoration of the tenth anniversary of September 11th. The 9-11 Patch Project is also considering other charitable organizations to donate the proceeds of the Tenth Anniversary 9-11 Patch to.
To purchase any of the 9-11 Patch Project's patches or decals, please visit their website at www.9-11PatchProject.org.
Author:Bill Lorin with contribution from Dave Kirwan
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