First Responders Run Evacuation Drill at 9/11 Museum


Before most people had their first cup of coffee Sunday, hundreds of first responders had already completed a full-scale emergency drill in lower Manhattan.

About 250 members of the FDNY, NYPD and Port Authority participated in a simulated evacuation of the National September 11 Memorial Museum, WCBS 880′s Monica Miller reported.

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Melissa Pettignano wins Person of Distinction Award

By Art Schwartz Hudson Reporter

Melissa Pettignano

Melissa Pettignano

Melissa Pettignano of Secaucus wears a lot of hats, describing herself as an “author, entrepreneur, inspirational speaker, and professional music artist.” Now she can add another feather to her cap: the recipient of the “Unsung Hero” Young Person of Distinction Award for 2014.

The award was for her various community efforts, “but the main focus was September 11. My outreach on September 11 had to do with going to the [9/11] museum and speaking to children, helping them cope,” she said.

Pettignano lost her beloved aunt, Arlene Babakitis of Secaucus, in the World Trade Center attacks. The incident encouraged Pettignano to give back more to the community and help others to the best of her ability.

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Sean Egan wins Prudential Spirit of Community Award

About Parenting

After Sean Egan’s father, a New York City firefighter [Captain Martin J. Egan], died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Sean realized the importance of the military’s duty to defend the nation. At the age of 18, Sean has founded an organization to assist veterans of the armed forces.

Two years ago he organized a trip for a group of high school students to visit a VA hospital in Brooklyn. When he recognized how much the wounded soldiers appreciated their company, he established, Hearing our Heroes, a group to support and celebrate veterans. The group provides books and games for the recreation room at the Brooklyn hospital and they donate basic necessities to veterans who leave the hospital homeless.

They’ve held hundreds of events for service members and wounded veterans. They also perform community service projects for local veterans and they assist with the upkeep of local veterans’ cemeteries and monuments. Last summer, the group of over 200 students even raised money to send a veteran and his family to Disney World.

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