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9/11-themed event to raise funds for first responders

August 29, 2018

A Sept. 11 Pasadena fundraiser for local first responders is scheduled at D’Gala Event Center, 2226 Shaver St. and will include a performance re-enacting stories from the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The re-enactments by actors from Pasadena Little Theatre will begin at 7:30 p.m. Hors d’ouevres and drinks will served starting at 6:30 p.m., said Ginny Ginn-Wagner, wife of Mayor Jeff Wagner.

“During the first hour, while guests are visiting, entertainment will be provided by several singers and musicians who are police officers and firefighters,” Ginn-Wagner said.

Ticket prices are $25, $35 and $50, with proceeds going to the Pasadena Citizen Police Academy Alumni and the Pasadena Volunteer Firemen’s Association, said Julie Owen, president of the theater group’s board.

PLT’s treasurer, Gregory R. Brown, gathered eight actors from Pasadena, Pearland and Houston to portray all 26 characters in the docudrama “110 Stories” by Sarah Tuft which covers the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States.

“I had been looking for something to do around 9/11 to pay tribute to first responders,” Brown said. “Last December, I visited the (911 Memorial and Museum in New York City), and I found this script online in January. I was so moved that I brought it to the board in the hopes of presenting it as a way to give back to the first responders in the community we are a part of.”

The theater enlisted the aid of Ginn-Wagner, who is known as a leader in church and community activities.

“Ginny has been a huge help in making the contacts for which local organizations will receive all monies raised through the fundraiser, and assisting in finding sponsors,” said Brown.“Ginny is especially involved in the Pasadena police and fire departments and their alumni.”

Ginn-Wagner is the widow of a Pasadena police officer, Jeff Ginn, who was killed in the line of service in 1991. Ginn, a graduate of Sam Rayburn High School, had served eight years with the Pasadena department when he answered a call to investigate a backyard fire. A gunman who was a former mental patient attacked and killed Ginn.

Ginn was survived by his wife and their two daughters, Jessica, who was 5, and Jillian, who was 2.

Ginn-Wagner married Jeff Wagner, then a Houston police officer, in the spring of 1998.

“It’s not that I set out to marry another officer,” Ginn-Wagner said. “At first, my family and friends were thinking, ‘Is that wise?’ But they had met him and adored him. God just brought us together.”

Brown noted how the death of Jeff Ginn underscored how first responders risk their lives every time they report to a call.

He said that the author of “110 Stories” interviewed multiple first responders and civilians who were at the site of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

“The play weaves together stories not shown on the news, from first responders to a mother, a photojournalist, an ironworker, a chiropractor and a homeless man who saved lives that day,” Brown said.

The actors, who will be positioned at stands and perform with scripts in hand, will include Bill Chmiewlewski of Pasadena, Carla Guidry and RoseMarie Trauschke of Pearland and David James Barron, Barbara Brandt, Dave Osbie Shepard and Mark Stanley of Houston.

Tickets may be purchased online at www.pasadenalittletheatre.org or by calling 713-941-1758. There are no additional fees attached to purchases made online or by phone.

Anyone interested in becoming a sponsor at one of four levels may contact Brown at 713-941-1758 or gregbrown526@hotmail.com.

Don Maines is a freelance writer who can be reached at donmaines@att.net

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