Local News

Brother's loss inspires 9/11 National Day of Service

Posted September 11, 2011 10:44 p.m. EDT
Updated September 11, 2011 11:09 p.m. EDT

— People around the nation spent Sunday volunteering their time as part of a national day of service to mark 10 years since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

My Good Deed, a Calif.-based nonprofit that organizes the 9/11 National Day of Service, was born from the tragedy that day.

In the days following the attack, David Paine learned that his friend, Jay Winuk, had lost a brother at ground zero.

"He called me and he said, 'You know, I've got an idea. I see what's going on in New York and around the country. What do you think about turning this into a day of service?'" Jay Winuk recalled Sunday.

"I was looking for some way to honor (Jay's) brother Glen and also the many that lost their lives on that day," David Paine said. "That's really how the gem of an idea got started."

Soon, corporate sponsors began joining the cause. Triangle-based GlaxoSmithKline was the first to get on board with Winuk and Paine's idea.

"The biggest honor our company could be given was to be invited to partner with these folks and we've done it," said Bill Shore, director of community programs for GlaxoSmithKline.

On Sunday, 40 of the company's employees joined hundreds of other volunteers, including former professional basketball stars Bob Lanier and Kevin Willis, to spruce up Public School No. 140 in New York City.

"I'm not going to let the evil of the terrorists be the (ones who overcome) in our life, be it in New York or North Carolina," said volunteer Mary Linda Andrews.

Lanier said the Sept. 11 attacks were personal for him.

"I'm an American and I believe we can't let terrorists dictate what's going to happen to our everyday freedoms," he said.

Winuk said his brother would be proud of My Good Deed and would support turning a tragedy into a day of service, to help communities and grow closer to each other.

"What would Glen say about this? I think Glen would have been first in line. He was such a caring, giving person, not just as an attorney and volunteer fire fighter, it was just the way he lived," Winuk said. "(He would) say, 'You know what? I'm going to do good for other people who perished in a tragedy."