Traditionally Society Scene’s annual Volunteer Guide is all about community service and giving back to one’s community. So when this year’s publication date coincided with the anniversary of 9/11, we couldn’t help but be inspired by the volunteer first responders from that day in our nation’s history.
The first responders of 9/11 were the individuals who stopped what they were doing – many giving their lives – and rushed to the service of others. This selfless act is in many ways what volunteers nationwide do year-round in their own communities.
In 2009, Congress designated Sept. 11 as the National Day of Service and Remembrance. The bipartisan holiday is led by the Corporation for National and Community Service, MyGoodDeed and other nonprofits across the country, in an effort to implement one of the largest charitable service days in our country’s history.
The cover features a photograph of local volunteer firefighter Robin Russell and Sydney Hatch, 5, at the Plantation Fire Department – the largest volunteer fire department in Florida, established in 1957.
The issue shares the stories of volunteers who give back in different ways throughout their community. To us, these volunteers are the first responders to our community’s needs.
To go with the 9/11 theme, we photographed the volunteers in first responder settings. Thanks to Broward County Sheriff’s Office, Fort Lauderdale Mounted Police Unit, Plantation Fire Department and West Palm Beach Police Department for sharing our vision and giving us full access to their equipment and resources.
To search for volunteer opportunities in your community, visit here.
Taking a break from the office, we joined some true first responders on the starting line at the third annual “Tunnel to Towers 5K,” which took place Sept. 7 in Fort Lauderdale. The race was founded in honor of Stephen Siller, a New York City firefighter who was last seen running from the Brooklyn Battery tunnel to reach the World Trade Center with 75 pounds of gear strapped to his back.
We were inspired not only by the 1,500 people who showed up to participate but the dozens of firefighters, police, sheriff’s deputies, military and SWAT team members who ran all 3.1 miles in full uniforms with oxygen tanks and bullet proof vests.
On this anniversary of when our country came together as a nation united by grief, we’re reminded that it’s always important to join forces. Only this time, we’re united by strength and inspiration in the power of giving back.