James Halpern, a volunteer with the American Red Cross Northeastern New York Region, will join nearly a dozen Red Cross mental health workers to support the opening of the 9/11 Memorial Museum this weekend in New York City.
People with strong connections to the site and the events of 9/11 – including victims’ families, first responders, survivors, and recovery workers – have been invited to visit the museum before it opens to the general public on May 21. Due to the highly emotional nature of this experience, event organizers have asked the Red Cross to provide counseling and emotional support to visitors.
Halpern, director of SUNY New Paltz’s Institute for Disaster Mental Health (IDMH), served as a Disaster Mental Health Services volunteer for the Red Cross following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He led the first organized Red Cross Disaster Mental Health team to Ground Zero, and provided support to firefighter families, clergy, and neighborhood residents for weeks after the tragic events of that day.
“Considerable time has passed since 2001 and there has been much healing, but for those who lost loved ones or were injured on that day, attending the museum opening will likely be very difficult,” said Halpern. “It is an honor to be of some help to these survivors.”
MEDIA AVAILABILITY: Any members of the media wishing to speak with Halpern about his experience should contact Kimmy Tavarez at 518-410-0481 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange coverage. Halpern will be available for media inquiries at the conclusion of his assignment in New York City.