From The Ground Up: 10 Years After 9/11
"The brave are those who see imminent danger and then still walk into it."
That's how Maureen Fanning, widow of NY Firefighter, Battalian Chief Jack Fanning, describes the selfless sacrifice the FDNY made on September 11, 2001. 343 New York City firefighters died in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. The bravest of the brave; they were fathers, sons, brothers, and most were husbands.
"FROM THE GROUND UP" is the story of their widows. It is the story of trying to make sense of madness, of comforting their children and mourning their losses while the world watches. It’s the journey, taking two steps forward and one step back, through tears, depression and laughter, to triumph through tragedy. It’s the story of honoring their heroes in the most fitting personal ways they can imagine.
In August, 2001, Jack and Maureen Fanning thought about what they’d do if they won the NY Lottery jackpot. Jack dreamed of buying a group home for autistic children because their only two sons were autistic. Three weeks later, the Towers fell and Jack was gone. When people heard of the Fanning’s tragic circumstances, they began sending money. With that money Maureen created the Jack Fanning Memorial Foundation and funded, not one, but two, Group Homes. The foundation remains true to it's mission statement in supporting many different institutions providing services to those with autism.
Dennis and Una McHugh believed education was the key to a child’s successful future. While Una taught, Dennis, a fireman, spent afternoons off taking his young daughter to the library for Story Hour. After Dennis perished on September 11, Una wanted her children to remember the way their father lived, not the way he died. With family and friends, Una created a foundation whose first project was to complete the Dennis P. McHugh Library in Piermont, NY.
Firefighter and father of five, Stephen Siller was on his way home after the night shift. When he heard that all hell had broken loose at the World Trade Center, he turned his truck around to join his company. The Battery Tunnel had been closed for security, so Stephen strapped 70 pounds of gear on his back and ran back through the tunnel to the Towers where he died saving lives. In Stephen’s honor, the Siller family organizes an annual race following his footsteps through the tunnel from Brooklyn to Manhattan. More than seven million dollars has been raised so far by the Stephen Siller Children’s Foundation.
Andrea Garbarini lost her husband, Lt. Charley Garbarini, on September 11. Her dream is to tell these stories, of the bravery, resilience and legacy of the FDNY widows of 9/11 and to honor their heroes. "FROM THE GROUND UP", is a not for profit film that documents the indomitable spirit of these firemen's widows accomplishing extraordinary feats while surviving an extraordinary tragedy.