9/11 Tragedy a Solemn Reminder of Need
to Be Prepared against Disaster

IOCC Frontliners Fr. Jon-Stephen Hedges, Fr. Dimitrios Kyritses , and Fr. Apostolos Hill of St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Prescott, Arizona, met with members of law enforcement in Prescott during the tragic Arizona wildfires in 2013. Since the 9/11 tragedy, the IOCC Frontline has grown to more than 100 highly trained and credentialed Orthodox clergy and lay persons providing relief and recovery support from coast to coast to victims of natural and manmade disasters. photo: Mike Claypool/IOCC

Baltimore, MD (September 11, 2014) — It started out like any other day, but the tragic events of September 11, 2001, forever changed our nation. Today as we solemnly remember that day and honor the memory of the thousands of lives sacrificed, we are also reminded that disaster can strike at any time and that being prepared can make a difference in helping you, your family and your community survive tragedy.

“Our nation’s emergency responders – firefighters, law enforcement officers, and paramedics do an incredible job of keeping us safe, but they cannot do it alone,” said IOCC U.S. Country Representative Daniel Christopulos. “September is National Preparedness Month, a time to recognize that preparedness is a shared responsibility. Activities such as having an emergency preparedness plan in place serve everyone in helping keep the nation safe from harm and resilient when struck by disasters.”

It was the events of 9/11 that led to the establishment of a network of Orthodox Christian clergy and laity trained in disaster response. The Emergency Response Network (ERN), also known as the “Orthodox Frontline”, is comprised of more than 100 highly trained, credentialed and experienced emergency response personnel who nimbly assist communities and Orthodox parishioners in times of crisis. All have undergone hours of special disaster training, and many already have field experience as firefighters, police, paramedics, retired military or professionally trained counselors and therapists. Since its creation, the Frontline has been deployed to natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, Oklahoma tornadoes and Superstorm Sandy, as well as to man-made tragedies like the shootings at Virginia Tech University and Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The ERN is part of an IOCC initiative to develop a national Orthodox Christian volunteer network that is prepared to respond in times of disasters and help communities across the US recover more quickly after a disaster. Frontliner training is made possible through a grant from the Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Endowment Fund of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.


Prepare a disaster plan for you and your family by following the steps provided on the IOCC website at iocc.org/blog/disasters-happen-be-prepared.

Get involved by organizing a drive to assemble emergency clean-up buckets, hygiene kits or infant kits for people in need following a disaster. For assembly instructions, please visit iocc.org/kits.

Support IOCC’s humanitarian efforts by making an online gift to the United States Emergency Response Fund which will provide immediate relief as well as long-term support through the provision of emergency aid, recovery assistance and other support to those in need. To make a donation, please visit iocc.org, call toll-free at 877-803-4622 (IOCC) or mail a check or money order to IOCC, P.O. Box 17398, Baltimore, MD 21297-0429.


IOCC is the official humanitarian aid agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America. Since its inception in 1992, IOCC has delivered $488 million in emergency relief and development assistance to families and communities in more than 50 countries. IOCC is a member of ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 140 churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and advocacy, and InterAction, the largest alliance of U.S.–based secular and faith-based organizations working to improve the lives of the world’s most poor and vulnerable populations.