October 29, 2010

firefighter_boot_donate-white-8bAlmost ten years ago, on a day when the New York sky was a perfect blue, the unthinkable happened. My friend, Andrea O’Hagan and I lost our husbands during  the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center.  We are the widows of heroes, Lt. Charley Garbarini and Lt. Tom O’Hagan of the FDNY.  Over the past nine years, we’ve had a unique opportunity to watch many 9/11 families  emerge from their grief to improve the world through large and small acts of kindness. They have inspired us to action.

To honor those who were lost and to acknowledge the courage and accomplishments of those who survived them, we are partnering with award-winning Gage & Gage Productions on a full-length documentary film. “From The Ground Up: 10 Years After 9/11” will  recount the trauma, recovery, and rebirth of families of 9/11. Here are just a few of the profiles we’ve documented so far:

  • jack_fanning_memorial_foundation-blue-8bMaureen Fanning, mom of two autistic sons, and her firefighter husband, Jack, had a dream. Two weeks before 9/11, they talked about what they would do if they ever won the Lottery.  Jack wanted to start a group home for autistic children. After his death on 9/11, Maureen started two group homes for the autistic population on Long Island and The Jack Fanning Memorial Foundation, a non-profit association that supports research and education for the autistic.

  • dennis_mchugh_foundation-8bUna McHugh and her firefighter husband, Dennis wanted to instill a love for reading in their children.  Dennis would routinely take his oldest child, Chloe, for special daddy-daughter times to local libraries and read to her.  Since Dennis believed that literacy and education changes lives, Una founded the The Dennis McHugh Foundation after Dennis perished in the Twin Towers. The Foundation raised money and built a library in his name, which has become a place his children can visit to remember how their father lived instead of how he died.

charley_garbarini_smileThe 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks is approaching.  We hope that our film will contribute  to America’s historical record by capturing the resilience, courage and undaunting human spirit embodied by these regular people who have survived extraordinary trauma.  Making the next chapter in the story about recovery is the best way to honor the memories of all who died that day.

Once released, one hundred percent of the profits from the film will be donated to charities affiliated with 9/11 organizations, including:  The Jack Fanning Memorial Foundation “Angels for Autism”, The Dennis McHugh Foundation and The Thomas R. Elsasser Fund.

You can be part of this effort.

We need help funding the film’s production.  Please support our vision by making a tax-deductible donation to:

Sparky Productions ( the non-profit 501(C)(3) subsidiary of Gage & Gage Productions)
P.O. Box 903
Telluride, CO 81435 

Please indicate on your check that the donation is for the 9/11 documentary film.  Donors of $1,000 or more will be thanked in the film’s credits.

In just over a year, “From The Ground Up: 10 Years After 9/11” will premiere. We hope you will join us to celebrate.   Thank you and please feel free to contact us with any questions at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Andrea Garbarini and Andrea O’Hagan

DVD Available

The DVD of From The Ground Up is available. Order now.

For those that wish to just make a donation to the charities and film production, without the need for the DVD, you can donate here: