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Thread: Book Project Preserves WTC Victims' Life Stories

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    Book Project Preserves WTC Victims' Life Stories

    BOOK PROJECT PRESERVES WTC VICTIMS' LIFE STORIES

    By WILLIAM J. GORTA


    August 28, 2002 -- The first in a series of tribute books documenting the lives of individual 9/11 victims was presented yesterday to Katrina Marino, the widow of Kenny Marino, a firefighter from Rescue 1 in Manhattan who died when the Twin Towers collapsed.

    "This is Kenny," a 64-page hard-bound volume of reminiscences about the 40-year-old father of two, was a collaboration between his wife, Katrina, and the American Tribute Center, a nonprofit organization set up to produce free keepsake books for bereaved 9/11 families.

    "I was afraid that as time went on, the stories would fade," said Katrina Marino, after receiving a box of books to distribute among family and friends. "I feel safe now that we have it captured in print."

    His towheaded children, Kristin, 4, and Tyler, 2, pointed out pictures of their father in the book as their mom leafed through it - and promised to read it to them at bedtime.

    The books are the brainchild of Steve Bernstein, a Citigroup executive whose brother Billy, who worked at Cantor Fitzgerald, died in the attacks.

    Bernstein has written a privately published book of family anecdotes, which his family members clamored to re-read after his brother's death.

    He contacted Kitty Axelson-Berry, who helped organize his book and suggested doing tribute books for the families of 9/11 victims.

    The pair founded the American Tribute Center.

    There are two more books about to be published, 10 are at the beginning stages, and more than 100 families are waiting to begin the process, according to Bernstein, who also publishes Relix, a music magazine.

    "A lot of families didn't have anything to pass on to their kids to remember people individually," said Bernstein. "Tyler's children and grandchildren are going to read this book."

    Each title costs about $7,000 to produce, Bernstein said, and is funded through cash donations, discounts on materials and services, and the volunteer labor of professionals who interview families, write and edit copy, and do production work.

    Families of 9/11 victims interested in creating tribute books - and donors of time or money - can get details at the group's web site: http://www.tributecenter.org.


    http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/55923.htm



    KEEPSAKES:
    Katrina Marino shares the book about her husband, Kenny, a firefighter who died in the World Trade Center, with their kids, Kristin, 4, and Tyler, 2.
    - NYP: G.N. Miller

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    Books - USA TODAY
    FDNY families put their love in books
    Thu Aug 29, 8:57 AM ET

    Bob Minzesheimer USA TODAY

    NEW YORK -- The book about the life of FDNY firefighter Kenny Marino won't be a best seller. It won't even be in bookstores.

    That's all right with his widow, Katrina Marino, who says she merely wanted something to give to family and friends, ''something that lasts, that says this is who he was and who he will always be.''

    Twenty-five copies of the 64-page book, Kenny Marino, arrived from the printer this week. It's the first of 35 ''personal tribute books'' produced free for families of the firefighters who were killed Sept. 11.

    Publishing chores, from editing to bookbinding, are handled by the non-profit American Tribute Center. The center was co-founded by Steven Bernstein, a Citigroup executive whose older brother William, 44, died at the World Trade Center.

    Two years earlier, Steven Bernstein spent $30,000 on 3,000 copies of his own family history, There's a Book in Here Somewhere: Insignificant Events of My Life.

    After Sept. 11, he says, ''It helped to reread the chapter on Billy. I realized I had something I could pass down. My youngest daughter is 3. She won't remember my brother, but at least she has the chapter I wrote.''

    Bernstein talked to Kitty Axelson-Berry, who runs Modern Memoirs, a private publishing firm based in Amherst, Mass. Axelson-Berry had printed Bernstein's family history. The two formed the tribute center and began offering help to families of firefighters.

    Katrina Marino, 36, a former flight attendant, had begun writing about her husband mostly for their children, Kristin, 4, and Tyler, 2.

    ''But it was hard sitting there at the computer,'' she says. ''It was hard to focus on specifics and to go certain places in my mind.'' She found it easier to be interviewed by Axelson-Berry, ''like telling someone a story.''

    The book, written simply and plainly in the third person, notes that ''no independent research or verification'' was done. It includes eulogies from Kenny's memorial service and 20 pages of family photos, from Kenny as a baby to a last walk at 40, hand-in-hand with his son, on a Long Island boardwalk Sept. 8.

    It describes Kenny's love of family, firefighting and baseball and how he ''hated the Yankees, loved the Mets, and was a member of the Long-Suffering Red Sox Fan Club.''

    It recalls how his wife once gave him an airline ticket to see ''his all-time favorite ball player,'' Ken Griffey Jr., on Opening Day in Seattle, and how after Sept. 11, she e-mailed Griffey asking him ''to hit a home run for Kenny, who would be looking down with a big grin.'' Griffey did on Sept. 25, and he gave his bat to Katrina.

    A family Web site ( myinfoserver.com/findkenny/findkenny.htm) is set up as an electronic memorial, but Katrina says that ''a book is different. It's something my children will always have.''

    She has read two books about firefighters since 9/11 -- David Halberstam's Firehouse and Richard Picciotto's Last Man Down -- ''to try to understand what happened.'' And like families of other Sept. 11 victims, Marino and her children were photographed for the new book Faces of Ground Zero.

    She says she knows that few strangers will be interested in reading about her husband. ''It's like looking at family photos when you don't know the family. . . . But he was so proud of us. Now it's our turn to brag about him.'

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    In the photo below:
    Katrina Marino, with her children Tyler and Kristin, and ATC co-founders Kitty Axelson-Berry and Steve Bernstein, shortly after being presented with the first book from the American Tribute Center. The book, titled "This Is Kenny," documents the life events, goals, and personality of her beloved husband, Kenny Marino, a Rescue One firefighter killed on Sept. 11. It makes use of text, photographs, and testimonials. Courtesy of The New York Post, August 28, 2002

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