Out of the Ashes: 9/11 and the Birth of the Hotes Foundation
Fourteen years ago today, Richard Hotes, CEO of Alaska Structures, watched from his home as first one, then a second passenger airliner slammed into the World Trade Center buildings in New York. Along with a stunned nation, he watched in horror as humanity was made to pause, and the world changed. Richard and Team managed to not only get themselves but equipment and materials to build the primary New York City Fire Department (FDNY) command centers which Richard donated to Ground Zero.
The Hotes Foundation Team worked long heartbreaking hours required to setup Alaska Structures, command centers to assist the heroic efforts of FDNY. Little did the team know, that the mission, and in particular their presence, would lead to one of the most important realizations in Richard’s life - the creation of the Hotes Foundation.
For 17 years, Richard had already been traveling to disaster zones and distributing aid. Right from the start he saw how inefficient and wasteful the large world aid organizations were, and how he could do better. It’s where his philosophy ‘going instead of giving’ took root. Disinclined to draw attention to himself, however, he had always traveled alone, which is what made the 9/11 mission so unique. It is also why, working amid the dust and rubble, with his team of volunteers pouring every ounce of themselves into the monumental job at hand, a new thought began to form.
As they labored, Richard saw for the first time his model at work, how it could be and how it was bigger than just himself. As his team worked into the night, the idea for the Hotes Foundation blossomed from a solo effort into a way to change the whole nature of how aid relief is viewed, and practiced.
Fourteen years later, Ground Zero is the sight of a moving memorial, One World Trade Center rises 1,776 feet into the New York City skyline, and the Hotes Foundation is a reality. Born amongst the ashes of that terrible day, the Hotes Foundation is a not-for-profit charitable organization that does not accept donations. In the intervening decade, countless Hotes Foundation volunteers have gone on over 70 missions in numerous countries, bringing food, water, shelter, and medical supplies to the poorest of the poor. As Richard teaches, to affect real change you have to go yourself.
On this day of remembrance, we offer our condolences to all the families of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. To all the firefighters and first responders Richard and his team worked side by side with we offer our thanks.
Today, like all Americans and those around the world who believe in freedom and justice, we pause, and pray.