GREENVILLE, Pa.—“Channel of Peace” author Kevin Tuerff, who has been portrayed on Broadway, written a book about his experiences being stranded following the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. and created a pay-it-forward endeavor that encourages people to do good deeds for strangers on the anniversary of the attacks, will speak at Thiel College at 11:15 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 17 in Bly Hall of the Academic Center.
Tuerff’s presentation, “The Ripple Effect of Compassion: a Come From Away Story,” is being presented as part of the College’s Common Hour Interfaith Program. The presentation is free and open to the public. Following his presentation, Tuerff will be available to sign copies of his book.
Tuerff’s book, “Channel of Peace,” discusses his encounters with the residents of Gander, Newfoundland and his fellow stranded travelers on Sept. 11, 2001 and the days after the attack. Tuerff and his then partner were returning home when the attacks forced all air traffic to be rerouted. Tuerff’s flight and 37 others were directed to Gander—population 12,000. Gander’s refueling airport could handle the large aircraft, which led to more than 6,500 international travelers laying over in Gander.
“A Thiel student—spurred by the power of Tuerff’s story—suggested we look into bringing this wonderful speaker to campus. We are grateful that Kevin has agreed to share stories of the charity and kindness he experienced and then, in turn, has shared with people in the days and years following the tragedies of 9/11,” said Thiel College Pastor Jayne Thompson, who is coordinating Tuerff’s visit.
Following the student’s suggestion, Thompson emailed Tuerff and asked him if he would be interested in speaking at Thiel College, and he agreed.
“I am hopeful the ripples from his discussion of compassion will radiate through our community and continue to carry on for years to come,” Thompson said.
Tuerff's story was among those included in the hit Broadway musical, “Come From Away.” His book includes stories not seen in the musical as well as his Pay It Forward 9/11 endeavor. It is a volunteer effort to encourage people to perform good deeds for strangers each year on the anniversary of the attacks. On the first anniversary of 9/11, he closed his business and gave each of his 40 employees $100 and told them to use the money for random acts of kindness. At the end of the day, they would meet and discuss how they had used the money.
Tuerff has been featured on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered,” and in The Washington Post. Tuerff attended a Canadian showing of “Come From Away” with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, presidential daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump and 120 United Nations ambassadors during a night that celebrated Canada’s 150th birthday.
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