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9/11 First Responder and Survivor Capt. Al Fuentes to Head K of C Disaster Response Program


Knights’ have long history of disaster relief includes the “Heroes Fund” which provided funding for families of hundreds of Emergency Services Personnel killed on 9/11

At its 129th annual convention in Denver last month, the Knights of Columbus announced the launch of a new project headed by 9/11 first responder and survivor Capt. Alfredo Fuentes, a New York City Fire Captain who coordinated the rescue of survivors including other emergency services personnel and was seriously injured when the North Tower collapsed, burying him in rubble.

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Fuentes will direct the new Knights of Columbus Second Responders Program, which will provide K of C support to the victims of natural and man-made disasters. Knights have long provided such help on a local basis, the most notable recent examples being Hurricane Katrina and the tornados earlier this year in Missouri and Alabama, but the new program will organize “second responder”  disaster relief plans in advance, with special emphasis placed on involving Knights who are current and retired first responders as well as other experienced volunteers.

The Knights of Columbus was also one of the first organizations to mobilize in the aftermath of 9/11, offering immediate financial assistance to the devastated families of fallen police, firefighters, and emergency personnel, regardless of their religious affiliation ― dubbed the “Heroes Fund.”

Understanding the dramatic impact on countless families, on Sept. 12, 2001, the Knights of Columbus’ launched the “Heroes Fund” to provide immediate assistance to the families of hundreds of emergency first responders who lost their lives in the rescue and recovery efforts.

The fund was created with a $500,000 donation from the Supreme Council and was matched by a $500,000 donation raised by Knights of Columbus councils throughout the world.

At a news conference on Sept. 13, 2001, Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson formally announced the formation of the Heroes Fund and revealed that the first three checks had been processed and paid to the families of New York Fire Department personnel.

Between September 2001 and July 2002, the Knight’s field force delivered hundreds of checks to the families of firefighters, law enforcement officers and emergency medical personnel who perished in the attacks.

Recalling the events of September 11 and the Knights of Columbus response, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson noted: “The Knights' immediate response in support of the families of fallen heroes on September 11 grew out of our long history of helping those most in need. We were honored to help the families of these heroes with a program that was able to quickly get emergency funds directly into the hands of families who needed help with expenses following the loss of a loved one and helped prevent financial concerns from compounding the tragedy these families had already suffered.”

He added: “Led by Knight and 9-11 first responder and survivor Alfredo Fuentes, our Second Responder program will help us to respond to those in need quickly and effectively in times of disaster as we provide necessities for those affected by the crisis. We could have no better coordinator of this program that Capt. Alfredo Fuentes, who knows firsthand what it means to coordinate relief in the most difficult circumstances imaginable.”