New Yorker & Iraq War Vet Working to Bring 9/11 Tribute Lights Back 365 Days a Year, Using Energy Efficient Lasers, Cutting Cost to a Fraction of Original Costs

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Turn on the Lights Laser Installation to honor all impacted by 9/11; Iraq vet & NYC veteran advocate, together launches Kickstarter campaign to build NYC memorial for new veterans, first responders and 9/11 victims.

"We went and served in response to these attacks, the lights should be on to also honor our sacrifice." Derek Coy, Iraq war vet.

Today, Iraq War veteran, Derek Coy and Jean-Avelin Dis, a fellow veteran advocate and mixologist, kicked off a NYC campaign to build a permanent tribute in honor of all those impacted by 9/11-- the victims, families, first responders, and all the veterans of our current conflicts. Inspired by the 9/11 Tribute in Lights, Coy is building an energy efficient, sustainable installation that will shine every night of the year using laser technology.

Using the popular crowdfunding site Kickstarter to raise the start up costs, Coy plans to get the lights up as soon as Memorial Day if he is able to reach his goal by April 6.

Kickstarter is a funding platform that brings ambitious, innovative, and imaginative projects to life through the direct support of others. More than 3 million people, funding more than 35,000 creative projects, have pledged over $500 million.

“We said we’d never forget about 9/11, but so many people have forgotten about those who are still serving, especially our troops in Afghanistan,” said Derek Coy, former Marine and Co-creator of the “Turn on the Lights” project. “We hope that when people see these lights, it helps them remember all those who still continue to feel the impact of that day.”

The Lights are estimated to cost $200,000, to include everything from permits to installation, and using energy efficient lasers, will be able to run every night with the same energy needed to power two hairdryers.

“In a city where a cosmopolitan or glass of wine is $14, I think we can all pool some money to turn on the lights and honor our city and nations bravest; it’s a way we can all be apart of it,” said Avelin Dis, when asked by a bar patron why not just use private funding.

“My father was a first responder,” said Crystal Gajewski, Founder of Ski’s Open Heart Foundation. “His health was seriously impacted by the 2900 hours he spent at ground zero. He passed away in 2011, but I work every day to make sure his service continues. I think this is a great way to honor those who continue to serve.”

With 5 days to go, they are asking New Yorkers to pledge their support on Kickstarter at

Avelin Dis is a veteran advocate and mixologist. He grew up on long island and graduated from Bellport High School in 2002. Shortly after moved to Manhattan to peruse a career in hospitality. He has been working for 9 years as head bartender at time square boutique hotel.

Derek Coy Derek served in the Marine Corps from 2004 to 2008 and is an Iraq war veteran. A Texas native, he moved to New York in 2010, received his Masters from the City College of New York (CCNY) and is a Development Associate at Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA).

For more information, or to schedule an interview with Derek Coy, please call (281) 435-8381 or email derekcoy(at)gmail(dot)com
Avelin Dis (646) 884-0690 or email mr.avelin(at)gmail(dot)com.

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