9/11 benefit walk returns for 13th year
In the wake of the 9/11 tragedy, the Monmouth County community of Manalapan rallied to honor residents who lost their lives on that fateful day.
'Walk with Joe' is named for Patrick "Joe" Driscoll, a Manalapan resident and community pillar, who was a hero aboard Flight 93 on 9/11. The flight crashed in Pennsylvania after Joe, other passengers, and crew prevented the plane from hitting its intended target in Washington, D.C.
"We didn't want his name to go in vain, so we started this walk called 'Walk with Joe,'" said Jordan Maskowitz, chairman.
The annual memorial 5k also now honors two other Manalpan natives who were victims on 9/11. Chris Gray was a trader for Cantor Fitzgerald, which was housed in the World Trade Center. Tom McCann made the ultimate sacrifice as a first responder working for the FDNY. McCann was four months from retirement when he headed towards the danger and 9/11.
"We will never forget. We'll never forget Joe. We'll never forget Tom. And we'll never forget Chris," Maskowitz said.
'Walk with Joe' is held each year to remember the three, along with a slew of other local residents, while also raising money for area charities.
To date, the event has brought in nearly $300,000, which has been spread to a variety of worthy causes.
Maskowitz said it's one of the last living 9/11 memorials out there.
"We lived through it, so we know what it's all about," he said. "But we want to make sure that the youth and the future remembers what 9/11 was all about," he said.
This year's event takes place on Saturday, September 6 at Monmouth Battlefield State Park in Manalapan. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., while the opening ceremony starts at 10 a.m.
Maskowitz estimates between 600-800 people usually turn out for the walk.
"It's really heartwarming to see the outpouring of people. They, too, have pledged to never forget," he said.
The group plans to hold 'Walk with Joe' as long as the community continues to support the event.
"As long as we have people coming out, and as long as the volunteers still stay strong to their commitment, we'll keep doing it for as long as we can," Maskowitz said.
Find out more about this great New Jersey charity and the upcoming event by visiting the 'Walk with Joe' website.