Fred Guttenberg’s Find the Helpers: What 9/11 and Parkland Taught Me About Recovery, Purpose, and Hope
November 19 @ 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm
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#1 Bestseller in School Safety – Overcoming Grief Through the Humanity of OthersFred Guttenberg loved watching Mr. Rogers with his daughter and his son when they were little. Their favorite piece of wisdom was: In the midst of tragedy and catastrophe, find the helpers.
“Always look for the helpers. There will always be helpers. Because if you look for the helpers, you’ll know there’s hope.” – Fred Rogers, interview with Television Academy, 1999
Life changed forever on Valentine’s Day 2018. What was to be a family day celebrating love turned into a nightmare. Thirty-four people were shot at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Jaime Guttenberg, a fourteen-year-old with a huge heart, was the second to last victim. That she and so many of her fellow students were struck down in cold blood galvanized many to action, including Jaime’s father Fred who has become an activist dedicated to passing common sense gun safety legislation.
Fred was already struggling with deep personal loss. Four months earlier his brother Michael died of 9/11 induced pancreatic cancer. He had been exposed to so much dust and chemicals at Ground Zero, the damage caught up with him. Michael battled heroically for nearly five years and then died at age fifty.
This book is not about gun safety or Parkland. Instead, Find the Helpers tells the story of Fred Guttenberg’s journey since Jaime’s death and how he has been able to get through the worst of times thanks to the kindness and compassion of others. Good things happen to good people at the hands of other good people-and the world is filled with them. They include everyone from amazing gun violence survivors Fred has met around the country to former VP Joe Biden, who spent time talking to him about finding mission and purpose in learning to grieve.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Fred Guttenberg began his public life after the murder of his beautiful fourteen-year-old daughter Jaime in the Parkland, Florida, school shooting on Feb 14, 2018. The day after the murder, Fred decided to attend a public vigil. While there, the mayor asked him to speak. His words shook a nation and he has not stopped since.
Only four months prior to the murder of his daughter, Fred’s brother Michael passed away in October 2017 from cancer related to his service in 9/11 in New York City. He was one of the original first responders at the World Trade Center with a team of doctors who got trapped in the WTC as it collapsed. Amazingly, the room that they hid out in did not collapse and Michael and his team of physicians spent sixteen days at ground zero taking care of others.
Following his involvement in these two distinctly American tragedies, Fred has traveled the country talking about both events but also talking about perspective, perseverance, and resilience. He discusses pivotal moments in our lives and how we respond to those moments, using his speech to inspire others.
Prior to these events, Fred Guttenberg’s professional life included over a decade in sales and management with Johnson & Johnson, followed by almost fifteen years as an entrepreneur, having built a business including nineteen Dunkin Donuts. Fred and his wife Jennifer now spend time challenging elected officials to do more. They began a nonprofit organization dedicated to Jaime’s life called “Orange Ribbons for Jaime.” He has been a regular on TV news programs and myriad online and print media. The nonprofit is now his full-time mission.
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