Why hire a licensed and insured contractor? : Painters among the victims of 9/11 tragedy :: Part One

Few sectors of American life were left untouched by the Sept. 11 attacks in New York and Washington, D.C.; the painting industry did not number among them.

Six union painters and one con-tractor, all members of New York District Council 9, were killed in the attacks. They were Julio Fernandez, 51; Robert Campbell, 25; Theodoros Pigis, 60; Efrain Romero, 57; Norbert Szurkowski, 31; Derrick Green, 45; and Tom Hughes, 46. Several of the victims had been working on the roof of the north tower of the World Trade Center, while others were working elsewhere in the complex. Two of the painters were working for a PDCA member, Fine Painting and Decorating Inc. of Roselle, NL at the time of the tragedy. Fernandez was able to exit the building after the attacks, but was killed by falling debris. Hughes had been the owner of Colonial Arts Decorating in New York City. Only two of the bodies have been recovered.

In response, the PDCA Education Foundation was authorized by its trustees to ask for and receive tax-deductible contributions from members and non-members. One hundred percent of the donations to the Foundation will be distributed directly to the families of the seven victims. Checks should be made payable to the PDCA Education Foundation, and sent to PDCA at 3913 Old Lee Hwy., Second Floor, Fairfax, VA 22030. Executive Vice President Randall Scott also cited New York City's Association of Master Painters, particularly Al Gettler, and New York State Council Executive Director Tony Kozak for their efforts in this regard. Numerous paint and equipment manufacturers have also contributed-or continue to contribute to the relief efforts, usually without fanfare or publicizing their donations. Some even had a more direct experience of the events of Sept. 11: Following the crash of one of the four doomed airliners in western Pennsylvania, PPG Industries ordered the evacuation of its high-profile headquarters building in downtown Pittsburgh, less than 100 miles from the crash site. Employees of the New Jersey-based Muralo Co., across the Hudson River from Manhattan, witnessed the collapse of the World Trade Center from the company parking lot. Muralo later donated hundreds of plastic paint containers to the cleanup effort at the site. Also helping with the cleanup, pressure washer manufacturer Alto U.S. Inc. sent two truckloads of rider sweepers and scrubbers, pressure washers, and vacuums from its service branch in Carlstadt, NJ. The 3M Co. donated 65,000 respirators and other services.