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Founder Kevin Tuerff


Kevin Tuerff's experience as a 9/11 stranded airline passenger in Canada inspired him to develop Pay it Forward 9/11 in 2002, and it has been growing each year. Today he serves as founder and volunteer president of Pay it Forward 9/11, Inc.


His 9/11 story is one of the true stories inspiring the Tony-Award winning Broadway musical Come From Away. The character 'Kevin T' is referred to as the compassionate "gay lumberjack" in the show and this Pay it Forward 9/11 effort is mentioned in the script of the musical.


He is a featured cast member in three related documentaries (HBO Canada, CBC and Fox). In 2018, House of Anansi Press published his memoir (paperback, ebook and audiobook), Channel of Peace: Stranded in Gander on 9/11. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the books is donated to nonprofit organizations helping refugees.


Kevin currently works for Environmental Defense Fund and is TEDx speaker and certified as a virtual presenter by eSpeakers. All speaking engagements requiring travel require purchase of carbon offsets. For each paid speaking engagement in a city, Tuerff will pay it forward with an unpaid talk at a local school.

Special thanks to our 2022 Board of Directors

Kevin Tuerff, Founder and President

Austin, Tx

Jeanette Gutierrez, Secretary

New York, NY

Ted Smith, Treasurer

Austin, TX 

Chris Bjornson, Board member

Washington, DC

Chris Gallin, Board member

New York, NY 

Tom Maher, Board member

Austin, TX

Heather McKissick, Board member

Austin, TX

Paul Milakovich, Board member

Jupiter, FL

Molly Morris, Board member

New York, NY

Chana Odom, Board member

Westerly, RI

Ben Walker, Board member

Kansas City, MO

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