|John Feal- Founder, Feal Good Foundation|
From injured demolition expert at Ground Zero, to activist and advocate for the 40,000 injured or sick that worked the pile at GZ. "No 1st Responders Left Behind," is the tag line of the Feal Good Foundation, created by John Feal in 2005. It's not just a catchy tag line but rather, it completely describes the lengths that the FGF went to in order to insure the Zadroga Bill passed though Congress and the Senate. And most recently, to insure 50 different cancers were covered under the bill.
As the founder of one of our nation's 9/11 Projects, I met John over two years ago--during the heat of the battle. With the purpose of the 9/11 Patch Project to remember the hero's of 9/11 and raise funds for 9/11 related charities, it was a no brainer to add the FGF to our short donor list. Although we have raised only a drop in the bucket for his foundation, we recently teamed up with Firehouse Expo to bring a night of comedy and rock to their three national Expo's (Baltimore, New Orleans and San Diego) with our main purpose to raise funds for the Feal Good Foundation and two other 9/11 charities.
I spoke to John a couple of days ago to catch up. We talked about the show and some of the difficulties in getting companies to come forward. Many were opting out due everything from the economy to concerns over the image of their company. Then John did something that blew me away. He asked what the largest sponsorship was and then committed to be the first to buy one. I quickly responded by saying, "John, this is a fund raiser for the Feal Good Foundation...how can we take your sponsorship money?"
John is very straight forward and always means what he says. He has already proven by his actions these past 7 years that if he is going to do something...no one can stop him! So, reluctantly I agreed but with the goals to multiply his money and give it right back during the show in Baltimore. I truly want to do that for him and the great work he has done all these years.
Question is, if John will step up and make such a large commitment to an event that is for his Feal Good Foundation, who else out there will step up and follow his lead? Ticketed events with headliner comedians like Ralphie May and hosts like Rescue Me's Mike Lombardi, should have no problem selling out. What company would not want to put their name with such a great event that will potentially raise thousands for great organizations like John's, the NYC Bravest Scholarship Fund and the Terry Farrell Fund?
John is a remarkable man but he is not wealthy. For him, it is about principal and spending money where he feels it is needed. He stepped up when others wouldn't because he felt it was the right thing to do and that is his character. Who else out there will step up and help make sure this fund raising event is as much a success as it needs to be?
My challenge to all exhibitors at the Firehouse Expo or any companies in Baltimore, is to step up and be counted. Most of you will get tickets for this show as it is also the official entertainment for the event--you will most likely be going anyway. Maybe it is unrealistic for some of you to come up with the bucks that John did, but you can afford to be one of our $911 Lifetime Sponsors. Nothing would make me happier than to turn around and multiply John's gift during our event in Baltimore. And nothing would make John, myself and the others that are working to make this event a huge success, more proud, than to look out and see the logos of companies that stepped up, printed on huge banners hanging near the stage.
Exhibitors and companies of Baltimore...it's your move!