"A few weeks ago Joe Quesada walked into my office holding a special letter," said Rosemann. "Now Marvel - and Joe in particular - gets all sorts of fan mail from readers of all ages, but this one stood out amongst that day's batch. Here it is:
To Whom It May Concern,
Thanks for putting out HEROES - great job! I bought my 1st copy at
my comic shop in Columbia, South Carolina, but am now serving my second tour
as a Red Cross volunteer here in New York City since the disaster. I work
the day shift at Respite Center #1 at Ground Zero, a Disaster Mental Health
Volunteer. I'll be here until November 14th.
The Red Cross Respite Centers are places that police officers, firefighters, and other who work on and around The Pile can come and eat, sleep, watch TV, get massages and chiropractic adjustments, grief/post-traumatic stress/pastoral counseling, phone home, use computers, play video games, get free health supplies and clothing, unwind, and just hang out. All a gift from the American people. It's a privilege to be here in this city's finest hour.
I bought a 2nd copy of HEROES locally and we "field-tested" it at the Center. It was well-received by the recovery workers who looked through it. I'm writing to ask if you could donate a few hundred copies to the Red Cross, to distribute at the Respite Centers. I'm working on getting official approval from our headquarters in Brooklyn and will get back to you when I do to arrange delivery, should you be so kind as to meet my request.
Thanks again for doing your part,
"Well how could we ignore such a request? Especially one from someone who had so selflessly and bravely sacrificed their time and energy to help those right here in Marvel's home town? So we called the Red Cross, pulled a few strings, and shipped them a box of HEROES. Then I left Jeff a message, thanking him for his kind letter. Case closed, right? Not quite. I recently received the following letter that brought a tear to this True Believer's eye. Here it is:
Your recording on my hotel message service earlier this month, regarding Marvel's donation of copies of HEROES to the Red Cross, was music to my ears. Having finished my two-week Red Cross "tour of service" (my
second since the WTC attacks), I'm sorry I wasn't there when the copies were
distributed to the cops and firefighters. Since returning to Columbia, I've
followed-up with In-Kind Donations at the RC headquarters in Brooklyn, and
they verified that the books were delivered and routed to the Respite
Centers at Ground Zero.
As a Disaster Mental Health Services volunteer with the RC, I had
two very different assignments in Manhattan. My first "tour" was with my
wife, where we both served as DMHS workers at a Family Service Center in the
West Village. There we did post-trauma and grief consoling with people who
witnessed the fall of the Towers, and who lost jobs and/or access to their
homes due to the attacks. My second time up, I was assigned to Respite On at
Ground Zero. The RC respite centers exist to take care of the folks who work
on and around The Pile.
As a Mental Health volunteer, their morale was very much a focus of
my concern. I was there to see the cops put in an awkward position of
holding the line against demonstrating firefighters, to see brothers clash
and quickly reconcile, as brothers will. Time after time I heard men who
practically live at Ground Zero say, "We couldn't do this day after day if
it weren't for you Red Cross people"
As the days pass and the facts sink in, and the sometimes grueling -
sometimes harrowing - work becomes more routine, the men and women of the
NYPD and FDNY need all the support they can get; and in that regard, perhaps
the timing and delivery of HEROES was fortuitous. It way my privilege to
play some small part in New York's healing, to walk the hallowed ground for
myself, and to spend time with true heroes.
And I'm pleased that I was able to catalyze the delivery of your
tribute book to some of the people whose heroic spirit it depicts so well.
My personal thanks to you, Joe Quesada, and anyone else who helped to
respond to my request. I know your donation is being appreciated.
In addition Marvel Comics recently announced that 'Heroes' will be going back to press for a third printing. You can find 'Heroes' at your local comic book shop.