Tuesday’s Children operates beyond Manhasset
Who are Tuesday’s Children?
They are youth anywhere who have been touched by trauma or terrorism, ranging from the terror attacks in 2001 to the mass shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville on March 27.
First, as those children grew up, their needs changed, and the organization started mentoring and career advisory programs for them.
With the passage of time, it embraced Gold Star families, those who lost service members in the wars generated by the terror attacks.
It started a program—Common Bond—to bring together youth from 34 nations victimized by terrorism. To date, more than 1,000 have participated in an initiative to “build relationships across cultural, historical, ideological and political differences.”
It holds periodic conferences and programs under its Community Resilience program to offer its expertise in serving those impacted by terrorism, military conflict and mass violence.
It created a Survivors of Tragedy Outreach Program (STOP) to, in the words of the program, “[elevate] the voices of those directly impacted by tragedies to help other communities heal.”
Tuesday, of course, refers to that September morning seared into the memory of anyone of sentient age.
But despite this global reach, Tuesday’s Children always come back to where it started.
On March 28, dozens gathered at the Plandome Country Club for the annual Plandome Benefit to raise the thousands of dollars necessary for its activities.
“We’ve done this event since 2002 here at Plandome—21 years,” Executive Director Terry Sears said to applause. “We commemorate the birthplace of where Tuesday’s Children was started. It was actually in this room in March of 2002, that hundreds of people gathered. It was in the wake of 9/11. And you know, like all of us, we didn’t know where to begin.”
With Manhasset so deeply impacted by the terror attacks, Sears related, the aspiring organization made a solemn promise to the community’s children and has kept that promise. It even helped people through the disruptions and emotional traumas of the pandemic, she observed.
“The youngest kids are 21, going to be 22,” Sears added. “What do they need? They still need some career support and guidance.”
She drew applause when she mentioned the many who signed up to serve in the military on the heels of the terror attacks. But the wars of 9/11 have been costly, with not only battlefield deaths and life-altering injuries, but also mental and psychological costs. Every day, she reminded the audience, 11 veterans take their own lives.
“So we pick up the pieces for these kids in these families after the loss for the long-term support,” Sears went on. “There’s other organization out there that do the grief. We do all kinds of skill-based support. If they need a mentor, if they need a career mentor, if they need to find out how [they] can get into a college of [their] choice, but [their] dad was in the military and [they] know nothing about college life beyond the military. So that’s the type of stuff that we do.”
Regarding the mass shooting the day before in Nashville, Sears said she had spoken to former board chair David Weild who now lives less than a mile from the Covenant School. He reported hearing the roar of the helicopters and the sirens of the first responders.
“It was surreal,” she related. “So many first responders we have in this room and you see the best and worst of humanity. And communities like that, you know they don’t recover overnight. It takes a long time. So we’ll connect them to people from all over the United States. We have friends, from Newtown to Uvalde, that will be able to show them support and show them a hope that can be achieved post-loss.”
Sears introduced Father Kevin Smith, firefighter and chaplain of both the Plandome and Manhasset-Lakeville departments. He had never missed a fundraising dinner, Sears said, drawing applause.
The priest noted his decade of service at St. Mary’s in Manhasset, and stressed the importance of the foundation and its many dedicated volunteers and fundraisers. He observed that it has endured while many others started in the wake of 9/11 have shuttered or completed their missions.
He said he had been moved by videos of Common Bond, of young people from war-stricken countries coming together to “talking it out and deciding that [violence] is not acceptable. Yesterday [the Nashville shootings] was not acceptable.”
Smith said that as long as there was violence and strife, the foundation’s mission would not be complete.
In his prayer, he asked God to comfort those afflicted by the wounds of war “and if they succumb to their injuries, give them rest in peace and comfort their family members and their friends who will mourn their loss. Gracious Lord, comfort those who mourn, embrace those in constant sorrow, give courage to all those who suffer. Continue to console them in the hope we will find peace and rest in your eternal Kingdom with your presence and surround us all with your love.”
Smith introduced Carys Hyland, a Manhasset High School junior who sang the National Anthem. In addition to being a vocalist for the Manhasset American Legion Post 304 and its Auxiliary, Hyland is also a probationary member of the Manhasset-Lakeville Fire Department Company No. 1.
The chaplain went on to note that her father Thomas is a retired Army captain who served in the Vietnam War and received more than a dozen medals, including two Purple Hearts, a Silver Star for valor in combat, and a Bronze Star for heroic acts.
In his remarks, Tuesday’s Children Chairman John Cahalane declared, “I am a Tuesday’s Child,” and related his escape from the 60th floor of the South Tower on that horrible morning.
He paid homage to “the bravery of many, many people, like the [first responders] in this room. It took me 10 years to realize how fortunate I was, 10 years to get involved in an organization like this. And then 11 years since. I like to think it’s healed me. It’s made me a better person. Just as it has so many families who were very unfortunate that day. Tonight is going to hopefully be one of many, many nights in Tuesday’s Children’s future. We need your help. We need the continued support of this community.”
Before introducing the honorees, Cahalane stated, “When I say we wish the mission could be over, I mean, is there any more significant and ethical episode than what happened yesterday [in Nashville] to prove to us that the work that Tuesday’s Children does can’t possibly stop anytime soon? The pictures, the voices…are just too powerful for us to stop trying to bring the long term healing mission of Tuesday’s Children.”
Cahalane once again called on the generosity of attendees to help the organization’s mission.
Judging by the responses to the live (presided over by Darran Brown of Go Charity) and silent auctions, supporters came through.
The evening honored Dr. Sylvia Arora and Dr. Navin Arora, as well as the Plandome Fire Department.
Dr. Navin towered over his wife on the stage but drew laughter when he quipped, “Don’t let the height [difference] fool you, she’s still the general.”
He said he had joined the military about three months before 9/11, and had to reassure his worried mother that there was no danger of a war starting soon.
The veteran paid homage to the firefighters and his fellow veterans from the Manhasset American Legion Post 304, to which both he and his wife belonged.
He called Tuesday Children’s an “amazing organization. The phenomenal depth and profound impact that it has at all levels of society is tremendous. Terry [Sears], John [Cahalane], thank you so much for having us. Terry really said it all in terms of what you can do for society at a macroscopic level and microscopic level, locally and nationally, even internationally. That’s just amazing. This is an organization where your money should be spent. This is an organization that makes a difference to what is important in our society, and that is children.”
The husband and wife served as doctors in Iraq together.
September 11, he reflected, “changed us. It changed us as people. It changed how we treat our children and what we do for our children. Not only does this organization treat those directly affected, but also spreads the word in regards to how these conflicts affect not just primary and secondary but tertiary levels beyond, that still affect the children. Just keep in mind that this is a great organization. Please spend your time and your money. You’re beyond blessed and fortunate to be part of this.”
Dr. Sylvia informed attendees that she had gotten in early that morning from a brief visit to Hawaii to attend the funeral of a service member she had served with.
She and her husband were flattered and humbled by the honor, she said.
The doctor grew up in Los Angeles and was an eighth grader when the city was wracked by the 1992 riots in the wake of the Rodney King beating verdict. Her parents were Korean immigrants and owned a flower shop. It was a time when relations between the city’s Koreans and African-Americans reached a nadir, and Korean businesses were often targeted.
“It was my first experience of terror. It was like a war zone, and I felt helpless. I thought my parents were going to die,” she related. “When the National Guard was called for a six o’clock curfew during that time, I could not feel any more secure. I’m thankful for the service of these men and women. I think that was my first exposure of how thankful I was to this country and for making me feel safe.”
The year before, during the Gulf War, she had been part of a scholastic letter writing campaign to military personnel, and developed an epistolary relationship with an Air Force sergeant that was important to her future.
“I still have all the letters that [he had] written to me during that one year of correspondence. I was inspired by his selflessness, because all day he was filling sand bags. That was his job,” she said. “And the fact that he was trying to explain this war to a seventh grader, that meant a lot. He was someone who [inspired] me to really think about the military as my career.”
As a pediatrician, she got to experience firsthand the mental toll losing parents has on children.
“I really hope that you guys take care of these kids whose parents gave up so much,” she summed up.
Father Smith came back up to the podium to introduce the Plandome Fire Department.
He spoke of his own career in firematics, starting out as an EMT with the Elmont FD.
“I used to ride the back of the ambulance and the only problem was when I showed up they’d see the collar and think that they’re getting last rites,” he joshed to laughter.
So his chief at the time encouraged him to train to become a heavy rescue firefighter.
When the diocese moved him to St. Mary’s, he became a chaplain of both area departments and characterized his fellow firefighters as “a welcoming bunch of people that are really, really dedicated.”
He noted that they liked to party, but “they also are very serious about what they do.”
Smith spoke about his activities on 9/11, and how the volunteer departments on Long Island got activated to back up the FDNY. Eighteen firefighters and law enforcement officers lost that day were also volunteers at Nassau County departments, he noted.
He praised the Plandome Fire Department and its junior membership of both young men and women “that are learning the ropes” and carrying on their parents’ tradition of service and giving back.
Smith then invited Chief Sean Byrne and First Deputy Chief Rob Seville to the podium.
Byrne named the many ex-chiefs in attendance and noted that the department was celebrating its 110th anniversary.
“Although a lot has changed in our community over 110 years, the primary purpose of the fire department is to protect lives and property and the residents in our neighboring communities,” Byrne said. “So that’s not changed and that continues to be our main purpose.”
He said that the department has nearly 90 members—impressive in a community with about 400 residences. A lot of departments have recruitment issues, he added, but the department added new members every year.
Byrne said the primary reason he and most members joined was out of a sense of civic duty.
The members put in a collective 7,500 hours of training in a year, he said. The department was highly ranked by the ISO (Insurance Services Office), which determines how well a department can protect its community. The score is used by insurance companies to set home insurance rates.
“It’s a great achievement,” Byrne said, adding that a quick response time also contributed to the ranking.
It took less than four minutes from the initial alarm to the first firefighter responding, the chief revealed.
Dr. Sylvia Arora MD, FAAP
Former military medical officer, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Pediatrician
Dr. Arora served in the military for more than 13 years. She served in the U.S. Navy for four years but transferred to the U.S. Army after marrying Dr. Navin Arora. She attended Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, the only military medical school in the country. She completed her pediatric residency at Walter Reed Medical Center/National Naval Medical Center.
Shortly after graduating residency, she deployed to Iraq with the 44th Medical Brigade. She was assigned to Level I and Level II area medical support unit, providing care to service members, contractors, and coalition forces.
During her service, she took on many leadership roles and trained medical students, residents and physician assistants. She received the Army Outstanding Young Pediatrician of the Year Award (AAP, Uniformed Services) for providing excellent care.
After leaving the military, Dr. Arora worked at Manhasset Pediatrics, where she truly loved taking care of her patients and working with parents. She recently left the position to spend more time with her kids. She currently works for a nonprofit that supports the NYC Department of Health, Office of School Health. She is a proud member of the American Legion Post 304 and the American Legion Auxiliary, Unit 304 in Manhasset.
Dr. Navin S. Arora, DO, FAAD
Former U.S. Army medical officer, Operation Iraqi Freedom
Dermatologist, founder of Borealis Dermatology in Garden City and Syosset
Dr. Arora is a native New Yorker and the founder of Borealis Dermatology. He proudly served as an Army physician for 12 years. Dr. Arora has extensive professional experience within a wide range of roles at the clinical and leadership levels within the Department of Defense (DOD) and private sector. Dr. Arora has provided care at Level I (most basic), II, III, and IV at various DOD facilities around the world, to include with the Multinational Force and Observes in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and Baghdad, Iraq.
Dr. Arora’s hierarchical positions have ranged from the associate level to service chief. Dr. Arora is still involved with Veteran’s Affairs and is a proud member of the American Legion, Post 304 in Manhasset.
He is also a clinical assistant professor at the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, where he lectures and volunteers to teach dermatology residents.
Plandome Fire Department
Organized in 1913, the Plandome FD is an all-volunteer fire department providing fire protection services to the residents of the Incorporated Village of Plandome for over 110 years.
As part of Nassau County’s 8th Fire Battalion, the department also provides mutual aid support to neighboring fire departments in Port Washington, Manhasset, Great Neck and beyond.
The department is led by Chief Sean Byrne, First Deputy Chief Rob Saville and Second Deputy Chief Bob Kane and consists of over 80 active members who collectively donate hundreds of hours of time to the community.
Additionally, the department has a juniors program which introduces 14- to 17-year-old students to the volunteer fire service. In addition to responding to fire and other emergency calls, the PFD actively engages with the local community through fire prevention education in schools and for scout troops, fire truck rides on Memorial Day, water hose fights on Independence Day, Christmas tree delivery via fire truck and helping Santa and his elves bring smiles to children young and old throughout the Village.
About Tuesday’s Children
“There is a common misconception that support is only needed in the initial aftermath of tragedy, and we at Tuesday’s Children know that families and children need a lifetime of healing.” —Executive Director Terry Sears
Through a time-tested, long-term approach, Tuesday’s Children programing serves and supports our nation’s military Families of the Fallen; keeps the promise to support all those impacted by Tuesday, September 11th; and builds resilience and common bonds in communities worldwide recovering from tragedies.
Throughout 20 years of dedicated service and 45,000+ individuals served
• We are a trusted resource in recovery and resilience for families and communities
• We provide a safe, supportive community and adaptive programming to meet evolving needs
• We fill the gap in long-term healing programs for bereaved military families and those impacted by terrorism and mass violence
• Our programs strengthen resilience, foster post-traumatic growth and build common bonds
Answering the Call:
Our innovative platform of programs—developed in partnership with recognized leaders in the fields of child development, family advocacy, crisis counseling and mentoring—addresses the needs of families at all stages of recovery from trauma and loss. We provide trauma and grief support, youth mentoring, mental health and wellness programs, skills-building workshops, career resources, parenting advisement, youth leadership development, community-based family engagement events and volunteerism opportunities. Tuesday’s Children’s Gold Star Family Programs support losses from all branches of service, regardless of circumstance of death and status with the military at the time of loss, all at no cost to the family members.
—Submitted by Tuesday’s Children