New Haven, CT ó The Knights of Columbus has established a $1 million "Knights of Columbus Heroes Fund" for families of all
full-time professional law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical personnel who have lost their lives or may yet lose their lives in the rescue and recovery efforts under way at the World Trade Center and Pentagon. The fund was announced by Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson in a
news conference Thursday, Sept. 13. Affected families will each receive $3,000 from the Knights of Columbus in recognition of the ultimate sacrifice made by their loved ones. Families who qualify should call the Knights of Columbus at 1-800-380-9995.
The supreme knight was joined by telephone with the organizationís national chaplain, Bishop Thomas V. Daily of Brooklyn, N.Y. Bishop Daily offered his prayers for the victims of the bombing and read from the statement Pope John Paul II released in the aftermath of the attacks.
The full text of Supreme Knight Andersonís statement follows:
"Today in the midst of this time of national mourning on behalf of the Knights of Columbus I announce the establishment of a $1 million "Knights of Columbus Heroes Fund" for families of full-time professional law-enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical personnel
who have lost their lives or may yet lose their lives in the rescue and recovery efforts under way at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. "Families of those brave men and women will each receive $3,000 from the Knights of Columbus in recognition of the ultimate sacrifice made by
their loved ones. This gift is being offered along with our prayers. It is our hope that this money will help those families with immediate needs at this time.
"The gift is being made on behalf of the 1.6 million members of the Knights of Columbus and their families throughout the United States, Canada, the Philippines and Mexico, and in the spirit of our priest-founder, Father Michael J. McGivney, who established the Knights of Columbus
here in New Haven in 1882 to protect, preserve and promote families, especially those affected by the death of a breadwinner.
"The Knights of Columbus has long felt a special association with the members of the law enforcement and firefighting fraternities. In fact, James T. Mullen, our first supreme knight, was president of the New Haven Fire Commission in the 1880s.
"Through several existing programs the Knights of Columbus will also help in a special way members of our organization who may have been affected by the attacks. Through our Educational Trust Fund, children of Knights who were in the military, full-time law enforcement officers or
full-time firemen killed or permanently disabled in New York or Washington as a result of this criminal action will be given full scholarships to any Catholic college or university. Established in 1944, this fund has financed the college educations of 263 children of Knights; nearly 800
children of members have qualified for this scholarship since its creation.
"Finally, in a special appeal sent to each of our 70 state presidents on Wednesday, I asked them to activate immediately their telephone/communications trees to urge our members and their families to volunteer as blood donors, for our local units to coordinate with local Red Cross
chapters to sponsor blood drives and volunteer their facilities to host such drives. In 2000, nearly 400,000 of our members reported donating blood.
"Our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones. We know that every American would like to reach out to these families. This is our way of offering a helping hand now."