“After all, there aren’t many of us who rush toward a catastrophe instead of away from it. The problem will never be having too many people like Glenn Winuk. It will be having enough.”
-- The New York Times, January 17, 2008, upon the Federal Court ruling against the U.S. DOJ
This program focuses on the widely reported story of a true American hero, for whom justice was stalled in the wake of 9/11 and whose life of service to others inspired what is now the nation’s largest annual day of charitable engagement, benefiting millions of people and communities in need each year.
Audiences benefit from the program’s messages about overcoming obstacles, the fruits of fighting for what’s right, setting goals, perseverance, selflessness and courage. This is an inspirational and motivational case study chock full of practical lessons learned and an example for others to consider about facing and overcoming tough challenges in their professional and personal lives.
A brief synopsis:
Jay Winuk’s brother Glenn Winuk was a successful attorney and 20-year volunteer firefighter/EMT who perished as a first responder when the South Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed on September 11, 2001. When the towers were hit, Glenn helped evacuate people from his nearby law office building, grabbed some emergency equipment, and raced into the South Tower to save lives.
Despite formal recognition of Glenn’s heroic actions from members of the U.S. Congress, the New York State legislature, NYS Governor George Pataki, FDNY Fire Commissioner Tom Von Essen and several other official entities, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) repeatedly refused to grant Glenn “line of duty” status, citing a technicality. This, even after the DOJ’s chosen arbitrator to review the case decided in Glenn’s favor.
For more than five years, Jay pursued justice for his heroic brother, determined to have the United States of America properly recognize Glenn for his monumental sacrifice and take his proper place alongside the 343 FDNY members who perished on 9/11. Winuk’s family eventually sued the DOJ in Federal Court. In June 2007, the Court of Federal Claims in Washington, DC, overwhelmingly ruled in Glenn Winuk’s favor and designated his a line of duty death. The case received widespread media attention.
This presentation recounts the story of a brave, selfless hero in the wake of our nation’s horrific tragedy and his family’s dogged determination in the face of monumental bureaucracy and seemingly insurmountable obstacles to secure justice for Glenn.
The program also addresses two permanent national tributes to those who selflessly sacrifice for others and which resulted from Glenn Winuk’s heroic actions:
- The Firefighters Memorial Wall, a massive 56-foot-long bronze sculpture across from Ground Zero, was dedicated in Glenn’s honor and pays tribute to the essential work of all firefighters. Millions visit the memorial annually.
- The “September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance,” co-founded and co-led by Jay Winuk, was largely inspired by Glenn’s actions, and is now the largest annual day of charitable engagement in U.S. history, with millions of people participating each year for the benefit of people and communities in need.