Heroic Service This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


     Bewilderment.Astonishment. Compassion. No amount of commendation even breaks the surface ingiving these members of Unionville, Pennsylvania the respect and praise theydeserve.

After watching the devastation of September 11th unfold, membersof my high school refused to be outsiders and took it upon themselves to make adifference. A group of teenagers and parents have travelled to New York Cityevery weekend to help in any way possible. They have gone beyond donating to theRed Cross and other charities and given what can't be measured monetarily: theirtime, their energy and their love.

"Originally we were just going todrive to New York once and drop off supplies," said oneparticipant.

The trips' coordinator, Mary Beth Tyrens, continues, "Wesaw what happened in New York, and felt we just had to help. The first time, wedidn't know what to expect. We knew there would be a need, so we decided to bringclothing and medical supplies."

That trip was just the first of many.Another student said, "It is just awesome. We are meeting so many fantasticpeople, all supporting one another. At the relief stations, everyone is sofriendly. Everyone is working for the same cause."

One restaurantnear Ground Zero, Nino's, decided to provide food full-time for the reliefworkers and volunteers. If one judges by the area around the site, it looks as ifeveryone in New York is helping.

"The people are so kind to oneanother, yet they are also so focused on the tasks at hand," said onestudent.

Since their initial trip, the high-school crew has joined with acore group of local full-time volunteers. Although they usually make day trips,they have spent the night in New York twice, first in a van while Mary Bethworked through the night, and another time in a YMCA. Usually, they leave earlyin the morning and don't return home until 1 a.m.

"Police officersand firefighters are coming right to our station from Ground Zero. We preparefood, but we also try to give emotional support, even if it is just holdingsomeone's hand, patting them on the back, or saying 'Can I get you something?' Itis so hard for the firefighters, they are looking for and finding brothers,people from the same station," Mary Beth said.

Unionville is a45-minute drive from Philadelphia and Chris, a volunteer, said, "Ever sinceworkers found out we were from the Philadelphia area, we have been bringingcheese steaks. We are now known for them. Local businesses donate the meat androlls, and the workers at Ground Zero seem to really enjoy it."

Another volunteer said, "In New York we delivered the steaks to thefirefighters in person. It was pretty amazing. I just thought it would be fun. Ihave never done something like this before.

Steve adds, "It is notabout the glory of volunteering, it's about just doing what you can to helpout." Mary Beth said, "We just feel like we have been blessed. Theappreciation we get in New York is incredible."

Next time you eat acheese steak, I hope you will think, if only for a few seconds, about the goodthat comes from helping others.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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