Saturday, May 7, 2011

Got Bus—A Uniform Patch—And 20 thousand Miles of Open Road

The 40-ton bus is on fire! It barrels down the open highway but no smoke can be seen billowing from its monstrous orange-red body. Look a little closer and you’ll see that it is actually wrapped with photographed fire scenes—well known structure fires that have occurred over the years in major U.S. cities. On the side of the bus in gigantic letters is the URL, FIRECAREERS.COM. look in your rear view mirror as you see the bus gaining on you and you’ll see a giant American Flag on the hood. It’s not an ordinary flag—it’s the iconic image of the 9/11 We Will Never Forget patch. Towards the bottom of the graphic you’ll see the WTC skyline with the silhouette of a firefighter holding an axe—rising above the Twin Towers. Just over the head of the firefighter is the date September 11, 2001. And at the bottom of the gold-bordered design, are the words WE WILL NEVER FORGET.

The bus is driven by retired Fire Captain Craig Freeman with his wife, Pam, navigating and constantly communicating with those hosting the next tour stop of the 10 Year 9/11 Manhattan to Manhattan Tour—a tour that left Manhattan Beach Fire Department in California with the goal of reaching Manhattan, New York, before 9/11/11. The tour is a joint effort with the 9/11 Patch Project to spread awareness of the 10 Year mark of 9/11 and raise donations through the sale of the 9/11 patches, decals, pins and flags. The fund raising mission will benefit the FDNY Bravest Scholarship Fund, Terry Farrell Fund and the Feal Good Foundation—all New York based non-profits.

Three months prior to the departure Craig met up with Brett Hill, founder of the 9/11 Patch Project, who was in a bit of a quandary. Brett had really wanted to host the West Coast 9/11/11 event but couldn’t find a venue or enough supporters to raise the 10’s of thousands necessary to make this happen. With Craig taking his company on the road for 9 months, it made sense to combine efforts and take the 10 Year Anniversary of 9/11 to communities across the nation. With the future of their company at risk, Craig and Pam still offered to make it happen.

The 9/11 Patch Project—is a project created 3 months after 9/11 with the goals of manufacturing and distributing special 9/11 uniform tribute patches for all Fire, Emt, Police and U.S. Military uniforms. The project was also designed to raise funds for the families of those lost on 9/11 and create unity among all emergency and military personnel. Over the past 9 years, the project grew to involve the participation of over 7,000 organizations in 22 countries. The 9/11 Patches can be seen on thousands of U.S. Firefighter uniforms, on the uniforms of foreign firefighters and on 1000’s of deployed U.S. troop military clothing—including our U.S. Navy SEAL’s.

“Don’t miss the bus,” has become the tour’s special saying as they roll though one horse towns, major cities and critical weather impacted areas. Space on the both sides of the bus enables people, companies and organizations to ride along with the tour. Getting their 1 foot enlarged logos and 2” lettering on the side of the bus gives advertisers/sponsors high visibility while helping fund the 20,000 mile journey with an average fuel cost of $1 per mile.

What makes this journey suddenly more incredible for Craig Pam and Brett, is the death of Osama Bin Laden at the hands of the 9/11 Patch wearing U.S. navy SEAL’s. This anniversary of 9/11 will not be like the others—the man behind the most heartless and tragic attacks on American Citizens, is gone forever and will no longer share the spotlight with the innocent American’s he killed, nearly 10 years ago. It is a special 9/11 anniversary this year—one that and the 9/11 Patch Project is proud to share with fellow Americans across this beautiful and Osama-terror-free land.

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