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Editor's Notebook

One Way You Can Help

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It’s not possible for any of us to return to our "normal" workaday lives. After the

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events of Sept. 11, the lives of so many will never be the same. Too much has happened to our world. Too much damage. Too much pain. The horrific loss of life, the suffering of innocents, the senselessness of hate have been forever seared into our brains.

Yet, we still have our compassion.

If there is one strength Americans have it is compassion. Through even our own grief and tears, we can instantly drop our differences and work together to make a difference in someone else’s life. And often when the difference between life and death is razor thin.

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Compassion is a spirit that is always with us. There are hundreds of examples of everyday Americans jumping in to help their fellow man – on these shores and around the world – without question and without hesitation. Whatever natural or unnatural disaster, wherever in the world, we’ve been there shoulder-to-shoulder to help.

More than 400 firemen, police officers and EMTs were buried under 220 stories of building that dreadful day. Over 400 people who unflinchingly served their community day in and day out. All in the name of compassion.

Heroes like Daniel Brethel, Andrew Brunn, Stephan Colaio, Andrew Desperito, Timothy Haskell, Marty McWilliams, Daniel Suhr and Michael Weinberg.

It would be hard for any of us to imagine going to work every day knowing that day could be your last. Kissing your spouse and kids each morning with the knowledge that you may never see each other again. No more playing catch in the yard. No more picnics or trips to the zoo. No more family vacations or school programs. No more birthdays, graduations or weddings.

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These were 400-plus people we took for granted. They were the protectors we silently prayed we’d never have to call on, to see anywhere near our loved ones. But there they were, on the scene instantly, climbing staircases, caring for the injured, directing others to safety. Never once thinking of themselves. Never even considering the horror that unfolded minutes later as we watched from the safety of our homes.

Two hundred and twenty stories of office tower crushed not only the bodies of these 400-plus heroes, the mass of steel and glass crushed the lives of hundreds of wives and children. In so many cases, those heroes were the sole means of support for their families. Their dreams of a better life for their children lay buried under 220 stories of cement and drywall.

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The widows and children of heroes like Glenn Wilkenson, Raymond York, William Henry, Manuel Mojica, Eric Allen, Sean Hanley and John Santore.

This is why this magazine, TANA, ITRA and TRIB joined forces to launch The One Fund – Tire Dealers & Retreaders United for Relief.

The One Fund is a true grassroots effort, a way for tire dealers and retreaders across the U.S. and Canada to answer the call for compassion. To show the world that our industry is ready, willing and able to step to the plate.

There is a secure bank account where all donations will be deposited. Monetary donations only will be accepted, through February 2002, and the collected funds will be distributed to the New York State Fraternal Order of Police and to the Uniformed Firefighters Association Widows’ and Children’s Fund, both of which have established targeted funds to assist in the financial, housing and educational needs of the families of the police, fire and EMT personnel killed in the World Trade Center attack.

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I, along with incoming TANA president Steve Disney of Disney Tire Co. in Louisville, Ky., ITRA President Tom Raben of Raben Tire Co. in Evansville, Ind., and TRIB President Larry Sehman of Sehman’s Tire Service in Franklin, Pa., are serving as co-chairmen for this industry-wide effort.

Together, we can help complete the dreams of heroes like Ezra Aviles, Robert Curatolo, Ray Downey, Stephen Fiorelli and Peter Ganci Jr.

So, now it’s up to you. Put a can on your counter. Ask your customers and employees to chip in. Friends and neighbors, too.

Dig deep into your own heart and wallet, and send your tax-deductible donations to: The One Fund, P.O. Box 13916, Akron, OH 44334-3916.

On behalf of those 400-plus brave heroes, we thank you.

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