Two steel beams salvaged from New York's World Trade Center after the 9/11 terrorist attacks have been installed at a Rockford memorial to honor emergency responders who died during the attacks, as well as local firefighters, law enforcement and medical workers who've died while serving their communities.
Welders installed the beams on Friday at the Winnebago County Emergency Responders Memorial during a ceremony marking the 14th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, the Rockford Register-Star reported (http://bit.ly/1O7o1zE ).
"That moment in time may have been the first time that our country witnessed just what firefighters and police officers and medical workers are willing to do when they're faced with insurmountable challenges," Memorial Board President Will Pederson told the more than 100 people who attended the dedication ceremony.
Pedersen said he began the process of acquiring the 1,000-pound beams in 2009 by reaching out to the Families of Sept. 11 Foundation. The beams were provided by The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and delivered to Winnebago County in 2011.
One of the welders, Matthew Hippman of Rockford, said participating in the event was fitting because 9/11 was the reason he joined the Marines in 2007.
Next year, 28 plaques will be added to the memorial to honor county emergency responders who have died in the line of duty, including medical helicopter pilot, Andrew Olesen, and nurses Jim Dillow and Karen Hollis, who died during a crash in December 2012 while en route to Mendota to pick up a critically ill patient.