When I first heard about the 9-11 Patch Project, I wasn't exactly sure who was behind it or what it was really all about. I had no idea at the time what I was missing out on.
The 9-11 Patch Project was founded by Brett Hill, a California based FF/PM turned Fire Inspector. He established it in December, 2001 with an incredibly ambitious goal: to provide a 9/11 memorial patch for each FDNY member while raising money for 9/11 related organizations. Financially, this would need to be done through sponsorships from the first responder community and beyond.
Through Brett's incredible passion for our community, and through the ongoing generosity of so many individuals and organizations, the project has succeeded in donating enough patches to "patch" each member of the FDNY.
The patches have found their way onto the gear and uniforms of firefighters, first responders and military personnel around the world in a fitting tribute to those lost. What an incredible display of generosity and what a testament to what we can do when we band together. To date, over 10,000 organizations from over 30 countries have participated.
As "We will Never Forget" implies, the mission is never truly complete. In addition to the 343 FDNY members we lost on 9/11/2001, there have now been dozens more who have died since from 9/11- related illnesses. We recently lost 3 FDNY retirees in a single day. There are so many more that still suffer physically and emotionally each day.
The project continues with the mission of patching FDNY teams and organizations, as well as members of other departments and organizations who want to show their support in keeping the message alive each day, each time they don their gear or uniform.
As firefighters and first responders, we are doers. We are the ones on the inside of the fire line tape, the ones that make things happen, the ones that have each other's backs. Please visit the9/11 Patch Project site and do your part to ensure that first responders and civilians alike Never Forget! Thank you!