Friends of Firefighters shows off expanded services for NY’s Bravest
The Friends of Firefighters organization has been around since after 9/11, and focuses on giving back to active and retired firefighters and their families.
The organization focuses on providing multiple services, including mental health counseling.
Their headquarters in Red Hook is a familiar sight to firefighters old and new, as it’s a former firehouse that serves as a safe haven for those who have been part of New York’s Bravest.
“Weeks after 9/11, I said we need counselors,” said John Sorrentino, a retired FDNY member and one of the many firefighters the nonprofit has helped. “We had a lot of guys spending hours at ground zero and hadn’t been home in weeks, dealing with who they lost.”
To date, the number of firefighters that have died due to 9/11-related illnesses has risen to 347, according to Friends of Firefighters. That number is higher than the 343 firefighters who lost their lives at ground zero in 2001.
“It used to be a stigma to ask for help, but those days are long gone,” said Sorrentino. “We have had over 200 new firefighters and their family members come here for help.”