World Trade Center steel is now in the hands of the Indian Mills Volunteer Fire Company in Shamong.
After a year of forms, phone calls and arrangements, president Stanley Rowe was able to work with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in obtaining a 110-pound beam in April recovered from the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
“The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the steel from the World Trade Center, has distributed thousands of pieces of steel throughout New Jersey, New York and the country,” said Ernest Landante Jr., director of communications for Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno. “Steel is only given to public, non-profit organizations like police and fire departments that plan to display the steel publically.”
Those pieces of steel, said Rowe, have been in a hangar at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens since the recovery efforts more than a decade ago.
Now, Rowe and the fire company need the public’s help in raising funds to establish a Sept. 11 memorial monument in front of the firehouse on Willow Grove Road.
Since the steel’s arrival in Shamong, it has been sitting inside of the firehouse, largely away from public view.
After the monument is in place, he hopes Gov. Christie will stop by for the dedication ceremony.
Richard Giberson has offered to donate services from his local construction company, said Rowe, and will front the bulk of the costs.
At his plant, Giberson has large rocks and stones. A pad of concrete will potentially be laid down at the to be determined chosen spot, followed by the stone with the rusted steel atop on a slant.
Donations are needed for signs explaining the prominence and history of the steel, as well as a sign listing the names of those who have given toward the cause. The signs have an estimated cost of $400.
“I don’t care if we get a thousand people,” Rowe said. “We’ll have a sign big enough for a thousand names.”
Shamong will be following in the footsteps of nearby towns that have also recently received pieces of steel. Namely, Medford Lakes and Westampton.
“This was one of the eyebeams that collapsed, but didn’t burn,” he said.
The company was chosen out of many groups in the state by Christie’s office.
“I was very surprised when his aide called me and he said that he had picked our name to receive the steel,” said Rowe.
If donations exceed costs, the company may purchase an LED sign to place out front as a contribution to the community. The sign would announce events and other happenings in the township, including prescribed forest burns.
That sign, which would be purchased from a California company, would cost about $2,000. The company has agreed to void shipping charges as the fire company is a non-profit.
Rowe does not want to pull from the general fund, as those monies are meant to be used for fires.
If individuals or groups want to donate, they should directly to Indian Mills Volunteer Fire Company with a note stating that it is for the Sept. 11 Memorial.
The fire company was on stand-by the day of Sept. 11, and the EMS Squad went to Ground Zero.
“We did get recognition from the state of New York,” Rowe said, and a letter proves as such upon entering the lobby.
He wants to get the project moving and perhaps have future events at the monument.
“Once we get gears in motion, we’ll get it up out there,” he said.
The pieces of steel have been sent all over the country.
“It’s hard to imagine where it came from after sitting there and watching the buildings collapse,” he said. “This didn’t get destroyed. It’s unbelievable. A part of the World Trade Center will be here.”
This is Rowe’s last big project with the company.
He plans to retire within a year to “get new blood in.”
“I think, in anything, you’ve got to have new ideas, new people,” he said.
And the fire company and squad sure do need new people, he emphasized.
The same people have been running all the calls, but the company isn’t ready to go down the paid route just yet.
There are approximately 20 people in the fire company and 15 in the squad.
If anyone is interested in joining, each Thursday is a drill night at the firehouse. Rowe also suggested viewing their website at www.indianmillsfire.com and contacting any brigade chief to make arrangements.