9/11 Call

A Calming Presence

Trudi Bresner, 49, owns New York City-based T.BresnerAssociates Inc., a marketing and communications company with seven employees and $2 million in annual sales. After the attacks, "we kept trying to figure out a way that we could help," she says.

So when she got a call two weeks later from a client who needed a favor, she jumped at the chance to give media training to the chief counseling officer and chief doctor for the Fire Department of New York City.

The two officials were going to appear on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS, and they wanted training in how to handle it. Understandably, both men were emotionally on edge from two weeks of counseling the families of 345 firefighters who died in the twin towers. They were going to talk about the services available for firefighters and were nervous that either they wouldn't get out their message, or they might lose their composure on the air. "Because they're in a position of leadership, where do they turn for help?" asks Bresner, explaining her role: "This is support for the support." Bresner spent four hours with the men, letting them vent their feelings and then role-playing answers they might have to give on the show.

Since then, her company has written and designed brochures, e-mails and pamphlets sent to firefighters' families. Again, for free. "We're doing this on a permanent basis," says Bresner, who apparently didn't have to think hard before donating her company's services.

"Entrepreneurs are dependent on people to help them," says Bresner. "To give back is very important."

Geoff Williams has written for numerous publications, including Entrepreneur, Consumer Reports, LIFE and Entertainment Weekly. He also is the author of Living Well with Bad Credit.

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This article was originally published in the February 2002 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: 9/11 Call.

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