The Mason Fire Department will soon receive a piece of steel from the World Trade Center.
After receiving an email from the New York Port Authority offering pieces of steel to fire departments who applied and qualified, the station jumped at the opportunity.
“When the opportunity came to have this artifact we really couldn’t pass it up because it would be a really great fit with what we already have to commemorate 9/11,” said Kerry Minshall, Mason fire chief.
The station, who hosts Mason Cares, a community event to remember September 11, 2001, uses the day as a way to preserve the memory and teach younger generations about the tragic event, making the station an ideal candidate to receive a World Trade Center artifact.
“Having a permanent memorial will be a great teaching tool for our elementary students and I think the community will really appreciate walking by and seeing it from time to time,” Minshall said.
The station plans to display the artifact in their memorial garden, a project developed by Eagle Scouts in honor of the heroic work of firefighters everywhere. A visible area in downtown Mason, the garden also is the site for the annual 9/11 memorial service.
“We have the ceremony every year in our garden without anything and this will just enhance it,” he said.
While the process has been lengthy, the station hopes to receive the artifact by the first of the year so it can be displayed by the next 9/11 ceremony.
“It has taken longer than we originally expected because the Port Authority received an overwhelming response when they sent out their e-mails to stations,” retired firefighter Norm Austin said.
After months of waiting, the Mason department is in their final stages of the process and have chosen a larger piece for their garden.
“When metal gets to hot as it did in the towers, it crisps and does all kinds of things and we wanted to get that effect so we needed a large piece,” Austin said.
While the Port Authority will ship the smaller pieces, the larger pieces have to be retrieved by the individual stations. Mason plans to retrieve their piece by the first of the year.
“I will be a really cool for the community, I ‘m excited to see it,” Mason Resident Bethany Davis day.
Mason will be only the second station in the area to have hold a piece of the World Trade Center Steel. Along with the Lansing station, Mason plans to prominently display the steel as a visual reminder for all the lives lost in the Sept. 11 tragedy.
“I’m honored to have it,” Minshall said. “I will be able to see it outside my window and it will be a reminder everyday for the people who sacrifice their lives on the line of duty.”