Thursday, August 9, 2012

To those of you who feel I'm out for profit - here is some history behind my book.

It recently really hit home what my roadblock is getting this book taken seriously. I'm unknown. No duh. But I'm not a fire fighter, not a member of the fire community. But I am a friend. A friend to fire fighters.

It was the fateful day of September 11, 2001. The attacks unfolded. I watched on TV from California like so many. Minding my own business helping out with the fundraising efforts at work. A 9/11 publication of the company magazine was created. I handle the mailing list for that magazine. Suddenly I found myself deep in the throws of listening to survivors - primarily the surviving members of the different agencies. I became a listening ear.

I gained a lot of friendships. One of those friendships with an FDNY member was one - I was 3,000 miles away, he didn't know my face - I was a safe place to unload. I shared with him how I had people praying for all  the survivors but for him specifically because I heard from him so much. I told him how some said I should write a book one day of what I was hearing. I told him this with no intent of doing so. None. Period. I'm not a writer. But once I had said this to him from time to time he said I should do it.

After a while he became persistant that I should do it. So out of the friendship I did. The idea has always been to support some kind of charity. Not for my profit. I got the backing of my company behind me and was able to produce the book. But the company was selling by the time I was going to print. And the support that I was promised in the beginning was greatly reduced. Still I'm grateful for what support they did give me. As the book was being printed I asked fire fighters what were good charities to support.

I heard about the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation which is the umbrella for all Critical Incident Stress Management groups. This organization helps rescue workers debrief after a tough call. They respond to tragic events, natural disasters, etc. They help rescue workers and civilians alike on those instances. So I thought great I'll support them.

I was told about the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project Co Founded and Co Chaired by Tom Cruise. Controversial because of whom runs it and where the idea for it came from. But its a program that works. That has saved and prolonged lives of our fire and police. Those that would agree to the program. I felt if I can support these two organizations I'm helping both the physical, spiritual and emotional well being of our rescue workers.

I also like Fire Fighters For Christ. I'm friends with them and support them. They don't sell books. That is policy. So with these already non profit organizations, I have felt I'll just support them. Becoming a  501C is not easy. And from what I learned I have thought it best to just support those already established. Now one problem arises. Being believed that I'm not out for profit.

But to support them I have to have revenue. I have to sell books. I put the book expense, the editing, the formating, the printing, etc. on credit cards. It coast me thousnads and took 3 credit cards to cover. Thankfully I now have it down to one. But I pay hundreds of dollars on that account monthly to pay the minimum payment. I have to promote if I'm going to get anyone to notice the book. That takes money. I have to travel to promote. That takes money. When you only sell 2 or 3 books a month, there is no money to support any charity, any non-profit, there is no money to pay the bills. So more and more every month comes out of my regular job income that I have to keep up. I have to have money to do it. I have to get paid or I can't do it.

Yet from I have learned about Fire Fighter culture, I get it. I understand. No one should profit off the tragedy of others. And really no one should want to. 9/11 was a tragedy that left many people raw with emotion, raw with hurt. Most especially anyone who suffered the loss of a loved one or colleague. And that does not apply solely to New Yorkers. People accross the nation lost loved ones that day.

I was asked-pushed to write. That FDNY member that pushed the idea was not intending to gain from it either. He also put forth revenue to try to help me out. To the point I told him to stop because once I pay my debt off to the credit card company, I want to see his contribution restored to him!

It's been tough. Instantly fire fighters that no nothing about me believe I'm out for profit. The message of the book is very important and not like any other 9/11 book out there. It was the distance, the fact that I live in California and not New York that makes it important, unique. The company I work for inadvertantly provided an outlet for many of those personally effected to vent. And I was the one on the other end of the phone or email. As one other FDNY member told me - there was no where to go. Everyone there was going through the same thing. Coming out to California, communicating with the West Coast provided a necessary release.

Members of the Fire Department and Police Department. EMS Workers. I'm your friend. I'm a listening ear. You have my deapest respect. 9/11 brought me into your world through no choice of my own. My book is meant to shed light, for those outside to see that while yes you are trained to do what you do. No amount of training can truly prepare for some of what you face. I want to support you any way I can. That is why I went ahead and wrote the book. So please before you judge get to know me.

God Bless and Stay Safe.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

9/11 Memorial - Greenville Wisconsin

August 25, there will be a new 9/11 Memorial dedication in Greenville Wis. This has been a labor of love by one of my high school classmates along with the AM Vets, the Greenville Fire Department and Fox Valley Technical Institute. I will be attending. Hope to see you there!