DO Something!

This coming week marks the 12th anniversary of the four coordinated attacks on our nation that happened on what is now known as 9/11.

For many, the day was one of hopelessness and loss. But for a group of local people, it was the beginning of a nonprofit dedicated to making a difference in its own community.

Band Together began in 2001 as five friends who wanted to do something in light of 9/11. Today the volunteer group is 500-plus strong, and a philanthropic force within the Triangle.

Band Together Executive Director Matt Strickland offered these comments to inspire us all toward positive change, as we remember 9/11 and all year long:  

“Every September 11 I still find myself asking people the same question, ‘Where were you on 9/11?’

“However, something occurred to me the other day as I turned the calendar page over to September. I seem to forget the more important question, ‘What did you do about it?’ 

“Life is not always about what happens to you, but more about how you respond. On 9/11, a group of five friends in Raleigh went through the same emotional rollercoaster we all faced. Yet they decided to do something about it, and thus began the story of Band Together. 


Band Together's Matt Strickland

“Danny Rosin, Tom Lyon, Shellie Gruber, Phil Gruber and Skip Mangum wanted to bring back a measure of humanity to our world, but knew they could not go to New York, D.C., or Pennsylvania. The horrific images that came through the television screen left people with a sense of helplessness, but this band of five picked themselves up and started planning. 

“Entrepreneurs at heart with a passion for music, these five friends knew they had to take a risk to make a large impact. In six weeks’ time, they united their friends and local businesses and hosted a concert in Raleigh to raise money for the families of the victims of 9/11.

“They flew down members of NYPD/FD and DCPD/FD for a weekend in their honor and presented them with the check on stage. The healing had begun for those heroes and for our community as well, and the concert netted over $60,000 for the cause. 

“Fast-forward 13 years and Band Together has transformed into an organization that works with select nonprofits each year to raise funds and awareness for their cause. To date, Band Together has raised nearly $3 million for various nonprofits around the Triangle and played host to some great bands. 

“It is amazing to me how five people reacted to fear and tragedy, answered the call to help and left a lasting legacy for our community. Despite how divisive things may seem, this type of community-centered action is happening every day and needs to be celebrated. 

“I for one will stop sitting on the sidelines watching life happen, and instead do something about it! I hope you will join me in whatever capacity you can on 9/11 and every day that follows, and give back, make a difference and save the world!”

Band Together is participating in a 9/11 day of service coordinated by Activate Good. Here are details:

What: Evening Commemoration of Activate Raleigh, the 9/11 Day of Service coordinated by Activate Good and the Downtown Raleigh Alliance. Enjoy live music by Mary Selvidge and Chris Hendricks Band, participate in hands-on service projects, bring non-perishable items for an on-site food drive, and hear words from Mayor Nancy McFarlane and Activate Good to wrap up this community-wide day of service.

Service Project Line-Up at the Evening Commemoration:

  • Create toys for adoptable pets with animal rescue organizations Calvin's Paws, Safe Haven for Cats, and the SPCA
  • Create pillows for breast cancer patients with Fight for 1in9
  • Write letters for troops oversees with Operation Write Home
  • Donate food and sort food for the Urban Ministries of Wake County food pantry: Bring peanut butter, rice, cereal, beans, and other non-perishables!

There is no cost to attend this event. Sign up to attend at

When: Wednesday, Sept. 11 at 6 p.m.

Where: Red Hat Amphitheater, Downtown Raleigh

For more information on Band Together and its events, visit

Local Remembrance

Locally, the Town of Garner will hold its annual 9/11 Remembrance on Wednesday, Sept. 11 at First Baptist Church of Garner, located at 601 St. Mary’s St. Breakfast will be provided beginning at 7 a.m., and the program will start at 7:30.

Keynote speaker is Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison, and special recognition will be given to emergency services providers.


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