In honor of the heroes and innocent lives we lost on September 11th 2001, this month's foundation feature is The Johnny Mac Foundation. I feel incredibly honored to have been able to blog about such an amazing hero and the foundation that his loving family has created in honor of his memory. Click "Read More" in the bottom right corner to learn some of my biggest takeaways on the life of John McNamara and the Johnny Mac Foundation. My love goes out to anyone who has lost a loved one in relation to 9/11.
John McNamara was an FDNY firefighter who, along with other brave men and women like himself, responded to the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center on 9/11. As his wife, Jennifer, mentions in her eulogy for John - "He spent hundreds of hours there digging for bodies and bringing closure to families. He lost so many friends that day, but no matter how hard it was, he was determined to bring his brothers home. He never asked for accolades – he just did what needed to be done. At least to me, he never talked about what he did. When we were in the hospital, a woman whom I had never met or heard about before came to visit. She told us she just had to come. She then told us that on 9/11 John pulled her out of a building that was about to collapse. After they were clear of the building, he gave her an angel medal I had given him to carry in his helmet. She showed me her wallet where she had kept it since 9/11. John may have not died on 9/11, but it was his work there that killed him."
John McNamara is a hero. It's because of brave, selfless men and women like him that our world is a better place.
John was also a first responder when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, but after reading Jennifer's eulogy for John, it's clear to me that he was more than an incredible firefighter - he was a loving, involved father to a son named Jack. It was his immense love for Jack and Jenn that made John want to give his fight against cancer everything he had, and it seems to me, that if that love could have kept him here on earth, then he undoubtedly wouldn't have ever left this world.
"I believe the day we found out I was pregnant was the happiest day of his life. He was so excited to be a father. He knew just what he would do too and how he would guide our child through the world surrounded by love. The wind was taken out of our sails when he got sick, but he never gave up. He fought each day for more time with his son. Jack was the reason that John woke up each day, the reason he fought so hard to stay with us for as long as he did. He loved Jack more than life itself. He went through every sickening treatment and every painful surgery with determination so he could have just a little more time with Jack." - Jennifer McNamara
On August 9, 2009, John McNamara passed away from 9/11 related cancer. He was 44. John left behind his wife Jennifer and young son Jack.
JOHNNY MAC FOUNDATION - MISSION STATEMENT:
"The Foundation's mission is to honor the essence of who John was and carry on his inspiring work - not only to see the Community Center project grow to fruition, but to continue the selfless spirit of Johnny Mac by supporting other organizations dear to his heart- groups dedicated to the support of Firefighters and First Responders.
After John died, hidden in his hospital bag, Jennifer found a list of things John wanted her to do if he did not survive. One of those things was to have a community center built in Blue Point, New York where John, Jenn and Jack lived. Jennifer formed the FDNY Firefighter John F. McNamara Foundation, also known as The Johnny Mac Foundation, to fulfill that wish. The Foundation is now tirelessly working to build the community center that John envisioned which will stand as a cornerstone of the community, family, and camaraderie just as John had."