Family of local man killed in 9/11 carrying on his legacy

Local News

SKANEATELES, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The Skaneateles community is doing what they can to remember Todd Pitman, a hard-working man who died in the attacks on 9/11.

Friends and family opened up a fund in his name after his death, now making the decision to close it. Whether you knew Todd or not, there’s an energy you feel when people mention his name.

“Todd was a fantastic guy. He had a huge heart. When you looked at somebody who wanted to help people, Todd always comes to mind,” said Gary Gerst, Todd’s best friend.

Though he worked in New York City, Todd was born and raised in Skaneateles. His dream was to eventually come back home to be with family. That future ripped away from him on September 11, 2001.

“I was glued to the TV and waiting for the phone to ring and every time it rang, I was praying to God it was Todd. And it wasn’t. And I think, I think somehow, somewhere, it was later in that day, I just said they got him,” said Eric Pitman, Todd’s dad.

Since then, friends and family have built a fund in his name, keeping its mission simple: Help kids in need. Since the attacks, they’ve raised more than $1 million.

“I really feel like we kept his spirit alive and as we were doing it, he was smiling at what we were doing,” Gerst said.

But managing that fund became a full-time job, which is why they decided to close it out two years ago. But with more than $65,000 left, they are making their final donation this month to the Skaneateles schools.

“People that don’t live here or work here or know much about our community, probably assume, ‘You know, what do they need money for? everyone’s wealthy.’ And that couldn’t be further than the truth,” said Chris Viggiano, Skaneateles Middle School Counselor.

And though that money will last a decade, it’s a bittersweet feeling for Eric Pitman.

“It shouldn’t have happened, you know, were there warning signs? I mean, we can point the finger, as a Christian, you know that was God’s plan. I look at all the good that came from it but…he would have made a difference in the world,” Pitman said.

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