BOSTON (CBS) – The attacks on 9/11 devastated more than 200-families in Massachusetts.

But through her pain, one Boston-area widow is changing lives.

On September 11th, Susan Retik’s husband, David, left early to catch a flight.

He left notes on the kitchen table to his kids saying how much he loved them and would miss them.

WBZ-TV’s Kate Merrill reports

Ben was four years old that day, his little sister, Molly, just two.

Susan was seven months pregnant with their third child.

“Dave called from the airport because we had missed each other in the morning, he said, ‘I gotta go, we’re boarding. I love you’ And um, that was was the last I obviously ever heard from him.”

“I went straight to, straight to um survival mode,” she says. “The whole world came to my rescue and that support truly helped me get through those darkest days.”

Yet for Afghanistan’s one million widows, there was no similar support.

“I remember thinking maybe I could help one woman and her family, the way so many people helped me.”

Out of that moment, “Beyond The 11th” was born.

Co-founded with Patti Quigley, another 9/11 widow, that quest to help one woman has now helped thousands.

In eight years, the group has raised more than a million dollars, passed on as grants to organizations in Afghanistan helping women learn a skill or trade.

Like a soccer ball manufacturing business, started by two Afghan women, which now employs over 400 people including several widows

The hand-stitched balls can be made at home, and are sold in the U.S..

But their true value is the hope they give to the women making them.

Last year, Susan’s work was officially recognized with the prestigious Presidential Citizens Medal.

But its the recognition at home that matters even more.

Comments (2)
  1. This is truly remarkable..It is amazing how in spite of all the hurt and heartache this young woman selflessly made a decision to use her experience to help so many thousands more in similar situation..Thank God for giving her strength and the heart to do so.

  2. kathie murrell says:

    i would like to purchase soccer balls for our grandchildren—how?

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