On My Mind

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The profound feeling of loss and grief after last month's tragedy is a worldwide phenomenon.

October 01, 2001

The profound feeling of loss and grief after last month’s tragedy is a worldwide phenomenon. But in suburban New Jersey it is deeper and sadly more personal. Such is the case for Ara Hovnanian and his colleagues at builder K. Hovnanian Enterprises in Red Bank, N.J.

Photograph by Jerry McCrea/The Star-Ledger/Corbis Sygma

In the days immediately after, the company devoted an enormous amount of energy and resources toward the rescue effort and then shifted its focus toward assisting victims. Ultimately, the firm pledged $1 million to aid the victims. In the process, the firm provided an outlet for other national builders to make generous contributions. Toll Brothers, Centex, Beazer Homes, MDC/ Richmond American, Lennar and Pulte have announced that they will, together with Hovnanian, contribute $10 million to the relief cause.

“After we heard the sad news, we organized a blood drive,” Hovnanian says. “We contributed time and effort and food for the relief effort. We donated hard hats. We contributed funds to subsidize the fuel that local ferry companies were eating up taking rescue workers back and forth. But as we talked about it, we felt that was not enough, we needed to do more.

“So we decided to make a commitment to raise a large sum of money because we had been approached by others about what they could do to help. Then we reached out to some of our fellow builders, and it turns out that some of the other builders had the exact same feeling.”

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