In 2000, the Reverend Betty Neal, Executive Director of Ministers of Harlem, Inc., a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, and Program Director J. R. de Szigethy created “Operation: Thumbs Up!” to offer support services to First Responders whom on a daily basis risked their lives to protect their fellow Americans. In part, citizens were asked to give a friendly "Thumbs Up" salute to First Responders in their community.
This program was re-launched in 2019 nationwide as a Health-Care Initiative for First Responders. The photo at right shows Rev. Neal, a Chaplain of the NYPD and FDNY, with Joe Occhipinti, Executive Director of the National Police Defense Foundation, also a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, and NYPD Detective Steven McDonald at the original launch of Operation: Thumbs Up! in September, 2000.
Click on this screen to navigate to the Wellness Page for First Responders. There will be found Links to non-profit organizations nationwide that offer free and anonymous counseling services for those in need. There is also a link to a video for the First Responder community.
At 2 a.m. on 9/11, Police Officer John W. Perry could not sleep. His life was about to change; he would apply later that day for early Retirement to pursue a second career championing American's Civil Rights. Perry's father was African-American, and he regarded the African-American Reverend Betty Neal as his Spiritual Advisor. A few hours later, Perry heard the sound of the first hijacked airliner crashed into the World Trade Center, rushing there to save many lives before he lost his own. Perry was the only member of America's law enforcement community who died that day who was “Off-Duty.”
Download the "We Support Operation: Thumbs Up!" poster onto paper or cardstock for display at your business location. Let your Clients, Customers, and Community know you support America's Cops, Firefighters, Military, and Medical First Responders.
Click on the link below.
J. R. de Szigethy holds a Bachelor's Degree in Health Education. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org