CENTENNIAL (KDVR) — Twenty-two years ago on 9/11, Bill Ficke was so affected by the horrific events of the day that he had to act. He needed to do something immediately to help the victims and their families.

“That day, I walked into the store. We were loaded with people just from New York. They all live around the area. All they wanted to do was tell their story and hear other people’s story,” Ficke said.

Ficke owns Big Bill’s New York Pizza in Centennial and, within days of the attack, went into action.

“A week later, we did it. We gave all the proceeds and donations to the New York Fireman’s Fund. We raised $35,000,” Ficke said.

Remembering 9/11 with giving

That was 22 years ago, but time has not faded Ficke’s desire to continue his fundraising every year to do right by his home state of New York.

The 22nd anniversary of the day that shook the world finds Ficke at his Italian restaurant preparing for yet another year of what he calls “a day of giving.” Ficke credits his employees for the success of the annual fundraiser.

“Hadi has been here since 4 in the morning, Phil since 5 in the morning, El since 5:30, Ruben at 6 and Emilio just came in,” Ficke said.

The fundraiser is simple. Customers come in to Big Bill’s New York Style Pizza, enjoy a pie or other Italian dish made from scratch, pay for it and that’s it.

“All proceeds, all, go to the JoAnn B. Ficke Cancer Foundation,” Ficke said. JoAnn was his wife, who lost her life to cancer.

The only thing bigger than Ficke’s homemade pizza pies is the size of his heart.