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City of Little Rock Public Relations
Office (501) 371-4421
Winuk Communications, Inc.
(908) 789-0700 (office)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE :
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Retired NY Giants Great George Martin Arrives in Little Rock on “a Journey for 9/11” Charitable Walk Across The U.S.
3,200+ Mile Cross-Country Trek from New York to San Francisco Helps Fund Healthcare for Thousands of Ailing WTC Rescue and Recovery Workers; Super Bowl Champion Has Walked More Than 1,000 Miles
Little Rock, AR, January 8, 2008 – When retired Super Bowl champion George Martin arrives in Little Rock today to be honored by Mayor Mark Stodola and receive a donation from the Little Rock Fraternal Order of Police, he will also have passed the first 1/3 of his 3,200+ mile “a Journey for 9/11” (www.ajourneyfor911.info).
The former New York Giants co-captain’s trek across the country will benefit seriously ill Ground Zero rescue and recovery workers. His walk from New York to San Francisco, called “a Journey for 9/11,” began on September 16, 2007, and has covered approximately 1,290 miles as it continues in Arkansas this week. While in Little Rock, George Martin will make a donation on behalf of “a Journey for 9/11” to provide a brick at the Arkansas Fallen Firefighters Memorial.
Mr. Martin seeks to raise several million dollars to provide healthcare for 9/11 responders and increase awareness about the illnesses now affecting those who are suffering from lung disease, post traumatic stress disorder and other serious medical conditions stemming from their efforts at Ground Zero after the attacks of September 11, 2001.
Mr. Martin recently was named one of ABC News’ “Persons of the Year 2007” and also received a humanitarian award from the Heisman Trophy Trust in New York. He is currently walking across Arkansas and will continue through Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, where the Journey will end in San Francisco. Averaging 20-25 miles per day on foot (a rate of about four miles per hour), Mr. Martin has already passed through portions of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington, DC, Virginia and Tennessee. His trek began at the George Washington Bridge in New York City and will end at the Golden Gate Bridge in Spring 2008. Mr. Martin’s path can be tracked online daily via a GPS system accessible at www.ajourneyfor911.info.
''I gain terrific energy from the generous, enthusiastic people we are meeting all along the way,” said Mr. Martin, vice president of sports marketing for AXA Equitable, which has given him a leave of absence to pursue the Journey. “Many of the heroes of 9/11 now need our help, and it is gratifying to experience the outpouring of support as we pass through this nation’s magnificent cities and towns. The workers of Ground Zero earned and need our collective help, just as they helped all of America, and they deserve the best medical care available. The true measure of our Journey’s success will be when we can substantially raise the national awareness about and funds needed to provide for their proper care.”
The Medical Problems of Working at Ground Zero
Medical studies now substantiate what many had suspected and claimed for several years – that working at Ground Zero led to serious, long-term medical problems for thousands of people. Studies indicate that 3.6 percent of WTC rescue and recovery workers reported developing asthma after exposure to dust and debris from working at the site, 12 times the rate of the normal adult population. And according to the NYC Department of Mental Health and Hygiene, one in eight of nearly 30,000 WTC rescue and recovery workers developed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, a condition found to be highest among WTC volunteers http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/pr2007/pr076-07.shtml.
Hackensack University Medical Center (NJ), North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health Systems (NY) and the Mt. Sinai Medical Center (NY) will match in medical services the total funds Mr. Martin’s Journey raises.
“Many of these rescue and recovery workers are not adequately covered for or are able to obtain the medical care they simply must have,” said Mr. Martin.
The Route and the Journey Team
The 14 states on Mr. Martin’s Journey include New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Nevada and California. He has also walked through Washington, DC, where the Journey received a substantial donation from the NFL Players Association in a ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial. On October 4, Mr. Martin participated in an event on Capitol Hill with federal legislators who are sponsoring legislation to provide healthcare funding and compensation for sick and injured 9/11 workers and others who have fallen ill from exposure to toxins at Ground Zero. On October 13, Mr. Martin jumped ahead of his route to participate in the NASCAR Foundation Track Walk at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, NC (he then traveled back to Charlottesville, VA, to continue his walk).
Mr. Martin, 54, trained more than three months for this trek. Throughout his Journey, he is accompanied by one security officer and a support team that includes an advance person; a technology advisor who is documenting and routing the Journey; and a medical technician.
George Martin was a star defensive end and co-captain of the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants (1986). In Super Bowl XXI, he famously tackled Broncos quarterback John Elway for a safety in the end zone. During his 14 NFL seasons (1975-1988), Mr. Martin scored seven touchdowns (three on interception returns), which set a record for defensive linemen, surpassed this season by Miami Dolphins defensive lineman Jason Taylor. Mr. Martin is a former president of the NFL Players Association.
Support from Business, Medical, Education, Sports and Charitable Community
Sponsors of the Journey include Hackensack University Medical Center; North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health Systems; Mt. Sinai Medical Center; AXA Equitable; Fairleigh Dickinson University; United Parcel Service; Bear Stearns; Proskauer Rose LLP; Nike; Tana Seybert Printing; Hunter Douglas; the New York Giants; the National Football League; the National Football League Players Association; General Motors; Sprint; World Wrestling Entertainment; Big Blue Travel; CV Technologies; ESRI; Intelligent Design; KeySpan Energy; Lou Hammond Associates; MAN Etc., Inc; MBT Physiological Footwear; Nautilus; Proforma Associates; SJI Associates; S& L Services; Fuchs EMS Medical Transportation and Valley National Bank. Beau Dietl & Associates is providing security for the Journey. Philanthropists Joseph H. and Dr. Carol F. Reich have made a substantial donation as well.
To make a tax deductible financial donation to “a Journey for 9/11,” visit www.active.com/donate/aJourneyfor911 or mail a check to “a Journey for 9/11,” c/o Valley National Bank, P.O. Box 707, Wayne, NJ 07474-0707; or call 866-808-2553. For general information about “a Journey for 9/11,” visit www.ajourneyfor911.info.