Largest Volunteer Rebuilding Effort in Arkansas History Starts this Week in Mena


On Sept. 2-5, volunteers from the New York Says Thank You Foundation will be conducting a commemorative 9/11 anniversary project in Mena.

Started in 2003 at the suggestion of a 5-year-old boy, the foundation has grown into one of the nation’s leading organizations to transform the anniversary into a positive platform for national volunteer service. Each year, the foundation sends hundreds of volunteers from New York along with disaster survivors from around the country to help rebuild communities around the U.S recovering from disaster.

The project will help heal the damage from the April 9, 2009 tornado in Mena that killed three people, destroyed more than 100 homes and damaged another 600.

For the project, volunteers will be building three homes and a county 4-H Community Center. Organizers hope to register at least 1,500 volunteers to get these projects completed between the scheduled Thursday and Sunday. Volunteers can register by visiting
NYSTY Foundation founder, Jeff Parness, calls the effort  Extreme Home Makeover on steroids.”

The mission of  the foundation is to send volunteers from NYC each year on the 9/11 anniversary to help rebuild communities around the country affected by natural or manmade disasters. The core group has expanded over the years to include people from each of the benefactor communities. At the core of the rebuilding effort will be New York firefighters who survived the World Trade Center attacks and who will be volunteering here as their way to “pay it forward.” 

In addition to the building projects, the 9/11 flag that once flew over the World Trade Center will be on display in Mena during this time. This 20-by-30-foot American flag was still flying, tattered and torn, over Ground Zero at the World Trade Center
on the day after 9/11.
If you would like to learn more about the organization, check out: