Remembering September eleven: The impression of reply the dedication and Sept. eleven philanthropies, virtually 21 years later

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A grieving widow and a manhattan hockey legend alike are sharing the impacts of a NY metropolis philanthropy that donated tens of tens of millions of dollars in direction of households reeling from the devastation and tragedy of September eleven, 2001. 

On that fateful Tuesday morning virtually 21 years in the past, Marcela Leahy, acquired a voicemail from her husband, NY metropolis police officer James Leahy, telling her he had been working an election day element close by and rushed to the twin Towers after the terrifying occasions started. 

In a particular a part of metropolis, then-manhattan Rangers hockey captain Mark Messier was ready for teaching camp to start when the information broke. The crew had initially been scheduled to be staying on the Marriott on the World commerce center for teaching camp that morning earlier than their plans beforehand modified. A now-well-known picture of the hockey center in uniform and sporting the FDNY helmet of fallen Chief Ray Downey grew to become what he informed Fox information Digital was “a galvanizing second.”

Two of us, dwelling utterly utterly different lives, spoke to Fox information Digital regarding the impression and significance of reply the dedication – an group initially created to study the households of first responders who have been killed inside the highway of obligation – and associated philanthropies. 


The annual Tribute in Light appears over lower Manhattan in New York City on September 11, 2017 as seen from Jersey City, New Jersey. 

The annual Tribute in mild seems over decrease Manhattan in NY metropolis on September eleven, 2017 as seen from Jersey metropolis, New Jersey. 
(picture by Gary Hershorn/Getty pictures)

reply the dedication, formally typically referred to as the N.Y. Police and hearth Widows’ & kids’s revenue Fund, donated about $one hundred,000 to every of the households of the over 4 hundred first responders inside the aftermath of Sept. eleven. 

Since its fruition, reply the dedication has contributed elevated than $one hundred sixty five million, and counting, to fallen heroes who died in Sept. eleven and utterly different tragedies. A equally noteworthy group, the Tunnel to Towers basis, has raised $250 million so far for American heroes.

reply the dedication was based by manhattan baseball legend Daniel “Rusty” Staub to study households whose manhattan Police division (NYPD), hearth division of current York (FDNY) and Port Authority Police division (PAPD) died inside the highway of obligation.  

Mets great Rusty Staub passed away at 73 on Thursday, March 29, 2018.

Mets good Rusty Staub handed away at seventy three on Thursday, March 29, 2018.

nonetheless the group, which focuses on caring for the victims’ households, goes past simply offering them with a look at. For Marcela Leahy, reply the dedication supplied her three sons with a strategy of normalcy after their father, NYPD Officer James Leahy, was killed on September eleven. 


The baseball video games hosted by the group have been notably impactful for her and her boys, who had spent their lives being coached by their eager father. 

This undated photo shows fallen NYPD Officer James Leahy, who died on September 11, 2001.

This undated picture displays fallen NYPD Officer James Leahy, who died on September eleven, 2001.
(picture courtesy Marcela Leahy)

“The boys liked baseball,” Leahy, now fifty seven, informed Fox information Digital. “James was actively involved with the sports activities, involved with baseball, took them to baseball video games … I knew we have been going to have a baseball sport the place the kids did not really feel utterly different as a consequence of all people there, that they have been going to be with, was inside the identical place – they misplaced a father.”

She added: “All these little issues that you simply take for granted everytime you have gotten it. You don’t discover how a lot you missed out in a while, how a lot it means.” 

Leahy recalled listening to her voicemail machine on September eleven to take heed to her husband inform her he had switched a shift to work an election day element, which was nearer to diminish Manhattan than he usually would have been.

NYPD Officer Joseph Safatle shows the photograph of his uncle, Officer James Leahy, that he carries inside his hat during the unveiling of the 9/11 Memorial Wall at the Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York on September 07, 2021 in New York City. 

NYPD Officer Joseph Safatle displays the photograph of his uncle, Officer James Leahy, that he carries inside his hat all through the disclosing of the Sept. eleven Memorial Wall on the Police Benevolent affiliation of metropolis of current York on September 07, 2021 in NY metropolis. 
(picture by Chip Somodevilla/Getty pictures)

“He had left us a message on the answering machine saying that he was inside the buildings with the firefighters. He didn’t know what was occurring, however that he was okay,” she recalled. “He was on the twentieth floor and that he would name us later.” 

She referred to as the police precinct, the place the one who answered the cellphone initially did not know James was inside the realm. 

FILE - Smoke rises from the burning twin towers of the World Trade Center after hijacked planes crashed into the towers on September 11, 2001 in New York City.

FILE – Smoke rises from the burning twin towers of the World commerce center after hijacked planes crashed into the towers on September eleven, 2001 in NY metropolis.
(AP picture/Richard Drew)

The Sept. eleven assaults claimed the lives of two,977 victims, collectively with 343 FDNY firefighters, 23 members of the NYPD and 37 Port Authority legal guidelines enforcement officers, and numerous others.

elevated than 20 years later, when requested what includes thoughts most typically about her fallen husband, she mentioned, through tears, “I simply take into consideration all the things that he’s lacking.” 

Marcela Leahy with her three sons, whose father, fallen NYPD Officer James Leahy, died on September 11, 2001

Marcela Leahy collectively with her three sons, whose father, fallen NYPD Officer James Leahy, died on September eleven, 2001
(picture courtesy Marcela Leahy)

“Even when the kids bought married, it is simply, it is so bittersweet. it is pleased, however it absolutely’s the saddest,” she mentioned. “He’s not right here, however he’s right here as a consequence of they’re heaps like him.”

She lauded reply the dedication, not solely for his or her monetary assist, however for choosing up the cellphone and being there for her at any time when she wished something. 

Marcela Leahy with her son, John, holding an image of her fallen 9/11 hero husband, James Leahy

Marcela Leahy collectively with her son, John, holding an picture of her fallen Sept. eleven hero husband, James Leahy
(picture courtesy Marcela Leahy)

“I knew I might on an everyday basis name for something,” she mentioned. “i might name … for silly issues, simply to ask a question, and additionally they on an everyday basis had an reply. So, i do know that anyone on an everyday basis had my again.” 

She added: “It’s an superb feeling. They have been actually Godsends, bought despatched angels to us.”

Candlelight vigil for the victims of the World Trade Center terrorist attack at Union Square in New York City. 9/13/2001. 

Candlelight vigil for the victims of the World commerce center terrorist assault at Union sq. in NY metropolis. 9/thirteen/2001. 
(: Evan Agostini/ImageDirect/Getty pictures)

Messier, a nationwide Hockey League (NHL) hall of Famer, grew to become an reply the dedication board member after Sept. eleven, upon seeing “the significance of being in a place to assist and attain out and provides assist,” he informed Fox information Digital.

“First responders are on an everyday basis going to be in peril, sadly, with the inherent risks that the roles embody – placing their lives in entrance of others to assist and assist and save of us,” he went on. 

New York Rangers' captain Mark Messier puts on the helmet of Fire Department Chief of Special Operations Command Ray Downey at Madison Square Garden on Oct. 7, 2001. 

manhattan Rangers’ captain Mark Messier areas on the helmet of hearth division Chief of particular Operations Command Ray Downey at Madison sq. backyard on Oct. 7, 2001. 
(picture by Corey Sipkin/NY every day information Archive through Getty pictures)

Messier grew to become what he referred to as a “galvanizing” decide when he wore the helmet of FDNY Chief of particular Operations Command Ray Downey, who died on Sept. eleven, all through the manhattan Rangers’ residence opener on October 7, 2001. 


“It was in assist of every New Yorker who reached out and tried to assist. It symbolized every FDNY and NYPD who risked their lives making an try to maintain away from losing of us,” he mentioned. “It was seen to be a galvanizing second in so some methods for all of us who lived through the expertise and, sadly, of us who didn’t, and discover your self leaving the households behind.”

He lauded Chief Downey, whom he realized about from Downey’s household, as an “superb man” and “chief.” 

“That unbelievable second earlier than the sport started,” he mentioned, “actually form of symbolizes the galvanization that manhattan had in that second.” 

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He added: “we will always preserve in thoughts what occurred. we will always preserve in thoughts the lives that have been misplaced, mindless likes that have been misplaced. And we will always preserve in thoughts the accountability that we have now as a metropolis and as a nation, to be honest with you, to assist the people who misplaced their lives inside the highway of obligation.”