First responder campaign opens Times Square billboards to all

Sue Guinn Legg • Updated Sep 18, 2019 at 11:11 PM

Last week, the nation commemorated the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks with Patriot Day remembrance ceremonies for the nearly 3,000 people who were killed at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Across the nation, there were volunteer service day activities and special honors that recognized first responders everywhere for the same sort of heroism that brought an estimated 90,000 responders into action in the months following the attacks.

And in Manhattan, the nonprofit Charity Share Times Square fundraising organization that helps other nonprofits raise money on the world’s most iconic electronic billboards kicked off a what organizers are calling “one of the coolest fundraising campaigns we’ve ever been a part of.”

To help organizations that assist the estimated 10,000 9/11 responders who have been diagnosed with cancer and other serious illnesses caused by exposure to toxic chemicals at ground zero, Charity Share Times Square wants to put your face or the face of someone you love up in lights on New York’s most recognized intersection.

The campaign’s website explains that for a $25 “to let our First Responders know that America is still behind them ... we will be taking over billboards in Times Square to say thank you to this fantastic group of individuals and to raise money for 9/11 related charities.

“This money is used to help take care of their medical bills, their children’s education and various other aspects of life made more difficult due to their heroism.

“Our goal is to get over 10,000 people to appear on these Billboards throughout the month of September. The money, awareness and support we will be able to generate from this will truly make an impact in a lot of First Responders’ lives.

“This campaign is an incredible grassroots effort to let everyday citizens do their part to contribute to the ongoing struggles that these heroes are still facing 18 years later.”

You do not have to be a New Yorker or even an American to participate. The only request is that you submit a photo of yourself, a loved one, a hero in your own life or someone you know who was affected by 9/11 holding a sign that reads, "I haven’t forgotten.”

The “I Haven’t Forgotten” photos will be displayed on Times Square through the end of September. And as soon as your photo goes up, the campaign will send you a picture of your photo live on the Times Square billboard to share on your social media pages to inspire others to support New York City’s bravest men and women and their families.

For those who wish, all the details and step-by-step instructions are available at www.CharityShareTimesSquare.org/sep11.

If there is a need or a project in your neighborhood the Good Neighbor column can assist with, contact Sue Guinn Legg at 423-722-0538, slegg@johnsoncitypress.com or P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605.