... I have firsthand knowledge and personal experience of [Bridge Foundation's] work in Kosovo, Albania, Turkey and Afghanistan. They were solely responsible for getting more than 25 airlifts into Albania and Kosovo during the Balkan conflict.  
Skender Ghilaga, President, Services Group International, Inc.

Ground Zero Heroes Answer Call for Help

Saturday, 21 June 2003 00:00

Embark on Humanitarian Relief Airlift to Aid Iraqi Orphans
Bravest and Finest to deliver food and emergency supplies

New York, NY - A team of Ground Zero Heroes, current and former New York City Firefighters and Policemen who provided emergency services on September 11th, will leave today for Baghdad on another mission – to deliver a cargo of food and emergency supplies to Iraqi orphans and school children.

 

The mission called "The Diageo Iraq Humanitarian Airlift," will depart Sunday, June 22 at 3:30 PM from Duane Street Fire House and will include Fire Department Chaplain Monsignor John Delendick. The mission was organized by the Bridge Foundation of New Canaan, Connecticut.

Said Monsignor Delendick, "In times of trouble, we answer the call to duty – so it was on September 11 at Ground Zero and so it is today in Baghdad."

"There are thousands of orphans and school children in need of food and supplies that we take for granted every day in the United States," said Delendick. "I am honored to join the other Ground Zero Heroes and Diageo to turn our compassion into action."

The Airlift, underwritten and organized by Diageo, based in Stamford, CT, is one of the first corporate humanitarian missions into Iraq originating from the United States.

These same Ground Zero Heroes delivered a planeload of food and emergency supplies to orphans in Kabul, Afghanistan in December 2001, just three months after the attack on the World Trade Center.

Paul Clinton, President of Diageo, said, "As a company, Diageo has a global reach but more importantly, we have a global responsibility. We are proud we could help make a difference in the lives of these children."

In addition to Monsignor Delendick, on board will be retired Chief Lawrence Connors formerly Chief in Charge FDNY Fort Totten Operations Center and former NYPD officers and current Suffolk County Police Department Thomas McDonald and Jose R. Guerra, an NYPD Medal of Honor winner.

The humanitarian team will leave New York for Amsterdam, The Netherlands, where they will load a DC-8 cargo transport plane with school supplies, hygienic products and:

  • 10 Metric Tons of Milk Powder
  • 10 Metric Tons of Vegetable Oil
  • 10 Metric Tons of Rice
  • 5 Metric Tons of Sugar
  • 2 Metric Tons of Infant Formula
  • 1 Metric Ton of Protein Supplement

The team will fly on to Iraq and after landing at Baghdad International Airport the supplies will be unloaded. The team will help deliver the relief supplies to an orphanage, as well as hospitals and schools in and around Baghdad. While in Baghdad, the Ground Zero Heroes will also visit US troops.

This is the second humanitarian airlift sponsored by Diageo. In December 2001, NYFD and NYPD officers embarked on the Diageo "Ground Zero to Ground Zero" airlift taking food and emergency relief supplies to Kabul, Afghanistan. Both airlifts were organized by Bridge Foundation of New Canaan, Connecticut.

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New Canaan, CT 06840
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