The New York Says Thank You Foundation

Polk County Arkansas Long Term Recovery Committee

Polk County Arkansas 4-H Foundation

Jeff Parness, Founder & Chairman                                                Lori Harrison, Volunteer Coordinator                                          Carla Vaught, County Extension Agent

The New York Says Thank You Foundation                                Polk County Long Term Recovery Committee                          Polk County 4-H Foundation

New York, NY                                                                                        Mena, AR                                                                                               Mena, AR

917-806-8061 /             479-394-5472 /                                      479-394-6018/


New Yorkers Honor America’s Generosity by Helping Arkansas Tornado Survivors Rebuild this 9/11 Anniversary

 25 FDNY Firefighters join with disaster survivors from around the U.S. to “Pay It Forward” in Mena, Arkansas Sept. 2-5, 2010


 September 1, 2010 - New York, NY & Mena, AR – A volunteer organization born out of the ashes of 9/11, will help to coordinate one of the largest volunteer service events in Arkansas history this Sept 2-5, 2010 as a way to commemorate the 9th year Anniversary of 9/11. The New York Says Thank You Foundation, working in partnership with The Polk County Arkansas Long Term Recovery Committee and The Polk County 4-H Foundation will be bringing hundreds of volunteers from New York City and from across the United States to help rebuild Mena, Arkansas -- a small town in Southwestern Arkansas devastated by a tornado on April 9, 2009 that killed three people and destroyed and damaged hundreds of homes.

At the core of the volunteer rebuilding effort will be 25 New York City firefighters, many of whom survived the World Trade Center attacks, who will be volunteering in Arkansas this 9/11 Anniversary as their way to “Pay It Forward.”

 “New Yorkers will never forget what people from Arkansas and small towns all across the United States did for us in the days, weeks, and months following 9/11,” stated Jeff Parness, founder of New York Says Thank You. “Helping to rebuild Mena on the 9/11 Anniversary 2010 is our way of honoring that incredible spirit of kindness and volunteerism that united our Nation on 9/12.”

 Three family homes and a 4-H Community Center going up...The volunteers will help to rebuild the homes of three families displaced by the tornado as well as Mena’s 4-H County Extension Community Center. The Community Center will serve as an educational meeting space for 4-H youth, farmers, community leaders, business owners, and families, and will include a demonstration kitchen to teach local youth and adults nutritious and healthy meal planning.

 Disaster Survivors from Around the U.S. to “Pay It Forward” in Mena, AR this September 2-5...In addition to the 25 New York City firefighters, Ground Zero construction workers, 9/11 Family Members, New York City schoolchildren and scores of other volunteers from the Big Apple and from across the state of Arkansas expected to participate in this historic rebuilding effort -- The New York Says Thank You Foundation will also be bringing to Mena, Arkansas disaster survivor volunteers from all the communities around the U.S. the Foundation has assisted on previous anniversaries of 9/11 and who continually volunteer each year as their way to “Pay It Forward.” This group includes San Diego wildfire survivors, Hurricane Katrina survivors from Slidell, Louisiana, and tornado survivors from Utica, Illinois, DeGonia Springs, Indiana, Groesbeck, Texas, Greensburg, Kansas, and most recently Little Sioux, Iowa where New York Says Thank You brought out over 1,200 volunteers on the 9/11 Anniversary 2009 to rebuild a Boy Scout camp devastated by a deadly tornado that took the lives of four young Scouts.

 Donors from across the United States participating, $50K still needed to finish out 4-H Center...This 9/11 Anniversary rebuilding effort in Mena, Arkansas was made possible by the generous support of many companies and institutions across the U.S. including a $100,000 leadership grant from EMERSON. Other contributors to this special effort include: Bank of America Merrill Lynch, KPMG, Tyson, Frueauff Foundation, Lester Buildings, Association for a Better New York, Jonathan M. Tisch, Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, Edelman Public Relations, REBNY Foundation, Lewis A. Kingsley Foundation, Polk County Rotary, 5J Electric, Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann, Greensburg Paying It Forward Committee, One Neck IT Services, and IATSE Local 52. $50,000 is still needed to complete the Polk County 4-H Community Center. Those interested in contributing money or materials to help complete this building project can contact Carla Vaught, County Extension Agent at 479-394-6018 or via e-mail at Tax deductible contributions to support this effort can also be sent to The New York Says Thank You Foundation, 2576 Broadway Suite 174, New York, NY  10025 (EIN# 20-1554830).

 Local Service Heroes will help Stitch The National 9/11 Flag in Mena, AR Saturday September 4 at 2PM...In addition to the volunteer rebuilding weekend, history will be made on Saturday September 4 at Mena’s National Guard Armory when local service heroes from the community and surrounding towns will be invited to place ceremonial stitches in The National 9/11 Flag, a 30-foot American flag destroyed in the collapse of The World Trade Center on September 11.  Local first responders who helped in the rescue and recovery efforts following the Mena tornado and recent flooding at the Albert Pike campground will be given the historic honor of helping to repair this national treasure which will become part of the permanent collection of The National September 11 Memorial Museum being built at Ground Zero. More information on this flag can be found at

About The New York Says Thank You Foundation...Started in 2003 at the suggestion of a 5-year-old boy, The New York Says Thank You Foundation has grown into one of the Nation’s leading organizations to transform the 9/11 Anniversary into a positive, hands-on platform for national volunteer service.  Each year on the 9/11 Anniversary, The New York Says Thank You Foundation sends hundreds of volunteers from New York along with disaster survivors from around the country to help rebuild communities around the United States recovering from disaster. It’s the group’s way of saying “Thank You” for all the love and support Americans from across the country extended to New Yorkers in the days, weeks, and months following September 11.  For more information, please visit                                                                   

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