THE DEDICATION OF THE 9/11 MEMORIAL
“In Honor of the Fallen”
The much anticipated dedication of Pinellas Suncoast Fire & Rescue District’s (PSFRD) 9/11 Memorial took place on September 11, 2015. The program began at 9:30 a.m. in front of Station 27 at 304 1st Street, Indian Rocks Beach. In honor of the victims of the collapse of the twin towers, District Chief Dennis Furnell took part in a fire service tradition that dates back to the mid-1800s. Long before radios, pagers or fire alarms, daily announcements were sent from headquarters to firehouses by a system of bell commands and telegraph. When a firefighter died in the line of duty, headquarters would transmit five bell strikes, repeated in four series. This custom has continued through the years to this day. It is a form of rendering final honors to departed comrades. In the fire service this is known as “striking the four fives.”
The dedication featured comments from local dignitaries with former Chaplain of PSFRD, Retired Fr. Robert Wagenseil as the guest speaker. At 10:30 a.m., a “Flight of Souls” took place with Lt. Llanes of the United States Coast Guard circling over the dedication in a helicopter which flew out of the Coast Guard Air Station in Clearwater. The Memorial includes symbols representing the Pentagon, Shanksville, Pennsylvania, firefighters, and World Trade Center victims. “There will be no inscriptions on the monument itself as the symbolism will speak to the individuals who view it,” stated Marshall Eiss, co-chairman of the project. The Benediction was given by the Chaplain of PSFRD, Reverend Fr. Jon Roberts of the Calvary Episcopal Church.
PSFRD Fire Inspector Robert Hill designed and has acted as the general contractor for the Memorial. He also was in charge of the donation program which provided the funding for the project. The Memorial was completely constructed with donations from the public and no money from the Fire District was used.
May We Never Forget
PINELLAS SUNCOAST BREAKS GROUND ON 9-11 MEMORIAL
By Robert O. Polk, Fire Chief, and
Marshall R. Eiss, Life Safety Technician
On June 7th, Pinellas Suncoast Fire and Rescue District (which serves Belleair Beach, Belleair Shore, Indian Rocks, Indian Shores and the Oakhurst area of the mainland) held a groundbreaking of the site of the 9-11 Memorial. Father Robert Wagenseil, of Calvary Episcopal Church and chaplain of Pinellas Suncoast, blessed the site and the groundbreaking event.
Pinellas Suncoast has been working on the project since 2009 when fire departments across the country were offered a piece of steel from the World Trade Center. Then Fire Chief, Russell Livernois and Indian Rocks Volunteer Firemen’s Association President Marshall Eiss wrote a letter requesting a piece of the structure. In 2011, Fire Chief Robert Polk was notified that the piece of steel would be made available to Pinellas Suncoast. The piece was shipped to the fire station, and a committee was formed to acquire the funds necessary to build the monument. It was decided that a cookbook containing recipes submitted by the firefighters, volunteers, CERT members, and their families would provide the donations needed to construct the monument. 800 cookbooks were ordered and funds were raised by the donations for the cookbooks and from various fundraising events in the communities. Any funds raised in excess of the memorial cost will be donated to the Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
Committee Chairman Robert Hill designed the monument and has contacted a local artist, Vince Anthony, to create the metal work around the steel. The monument will pay tribute to all the victims of the attack through four distinct design elements. The shape of the reflection pool will be in the shape of a pentagon, there will be a piece of stone cut in the shape of the Pennsylvania keystone mounted on the front of the pool, and of course, the World Trade Center steel will be wrapped by a stainless steel American flag.
Anthony, a local artist with a specialty in sculpture and mixed media, was contacted by Hill and when asked if he would do the project said “How could I say no?” Anthony has a gallery in Madeira Beach and his work can be seen at http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/vince-anthony.html
The monument is scheduled to be finished and a dedication ceremony is to be held on September 14th at the fire station which is located at 304 1st Street, Indian Rocks Beach.
THE WORLD TRADE CENTER
NINE-ELEVEN MEMORIAL FUND
Eight years after this devastating event, Pinellas Suncoast Fire & Rescue was given the opportunity to acquire a piece of the steel recovered from the wreckage of the World Trade Center to ensure that our communities “Never Forget 9/11.”
In the words of FDNY Firefighter Lee Ielpi (Retired), father of FDNY Firefighter Jonathan Ielpi who was “murdered” in the Line of Duty on 9/11/01, “The steel withstood the most horrific attack on American soil that took the lives of 2,973 innocent people, one of whom was my son Jonathan Ielpi, a Firefighter with FDNY Squad 288.” The September 11th Families Association stated they were proud to be part of the great effort to distribute steel to organizations interested in creating memorials.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey secured the steel recovered from the World Trade Center site at the JFK Airport and began the task of offering steel to all fire departments, police departments, EMS agencies and related community based organizations. This was a rare opportunity for Pinellas Suncoast, and we wanted to create a lasting memorial for the communities in our District honoring the lives lost and educating future generations about the events of September 11, 2001.
After two years, Pinellas Suncoast has finally received an artifact from the World Trade Center. The District’s Volunteer organization, the Indian Rocks Volunteer Firemen’s Association, has set up the Nine-Eleven Memorial Fund to allow the folks in our communities the opportunity to help in funding the construction of the memorial. One of our very own Volunteers, Robert Hill, has designed the memorial that will be constructed at the front of Fire Station No. 27, 304 First Street, Indian Rocks Beach.
The memorial will feature the iconic vision so prevalent in all our minds – the steel inner structures of the towers. Constructed of stainless steel, these two structures will flank the upright 36-inch, rippled piece of I-beam from the Trade Center. The I-beam will be wrapped with a stainless steel draped flag, stars cut from the flag to reveal the artifact, and burnished to represent the colors. These will be placed on a debris field in an elevated brick structure the shape of the pentagon. Water will flow down the flag into a reflecting pool that will represent the water so close to the towers and the escape route for so many survivors.
If you would like to help in our efforts to honor those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, the Indian Rocks Volunteer Firemen’s Association is accepting donations. You may make checks payable to “IRVFA Nine-Eleven Memorial Fund” and mail them to 304 First Street, Indian Rocks Beach, FL 33785; or you may make a donation at any Fifth Third Bank.
This public memorial in our District will be a powerful way to ensure the memory of the victims and heroes of 9/11 live on.
FIREFIGHTERS COOKBOOK TO BENEFIT 9/11 MEMORIAL
By Marshall Eiss
If you have been by Pinellas Suncoast Fire and Rescue Station 27 lately or been to one of many local community events, you may have seen that PSFRD and the Indian Rocks Volunteer Firemen’s Association are constructing a 911 memorial in front of station 27.
Project coordinator and Volunteer Firefighter Robert Hill stated “the memorial is being constructed completely with funds donated by the public.” “To raise additional funds, the idea of a cookbook with recipes from the PSFRD and IRVFA firefighters and their families came up since firefighters are known for their cooking.”
According to Ginger Lyle, Executive Assistant at Pinellas Suncoast Fire and Rescue, she and Hill have collected 250 recipes which are included in the cookbook. The book is divided into eight sections covering everything from appetizers and beverages to desserts with a special section called “This and That.”
The production run of the books was limited to 800 and are now available. The books are available at PSFRD Station 27, the IRB Welcome Center, the Three Palms Realty office, with other locations to be announced. Cost of the books will be $12 with all proceeds going directly to the memorial fund.
The cover of the book which was designed by Hill includes a plate in the shape of a Maltese Cross, with a keystone (for the victims of the plane crash in Shanksville, PA), the Pentagon and an outline of the Twin Towers. All of these features will be included in the memorial.
The project was started in 2009 when then Fire Chief Russell Livernois, Assistant Fire Chief Richard Walker and IRVFA President Marshall Eiss heard about and requested a piece of steel from the World Trade Center. The piece of steel, which was an exhibit in the September 11th litigation, had to be released by a district judge in the state of New York before it could be shipped. Two years later the piece was received and efforts began to raise the funds to construct the memorial.
Pinellas Suncoast Fire 9/11 Memorial Receives Donation
By Marshall Eiss
Stating the strong commitment the town has to the fire department, Indian Shores Mayor Jim Lawrence presented two checks at a recent fire commission meeting to co-chairs Robert Hill and Marshall Eiss of the Pinellas Suncoast Fire and Rescue District, for the 9/11 Memorial Fund completing the Indian Shores commitment of $2,500 to the fund.
The first check was the balance of the mayor’s recent re-election campaign fund and the second was from the residents who decided to assist with the funding of the memorial to be constructed in front of Fire Station 27. When presented with the proposal, Mayor Lawrence agreed but added the caveat that no tax dollars would be used. The town conducted a mail campaign of the residents and businesses, the town library had three book sales, the mayor had a pancake breakfast and the profits from the beverage sales at the St. Patrick’s Day street fest were added to raise the funds.
Indian Shores Fire Commissioner Larry Schear then issued a challenge to the fire commissioners from the mainland area, Belleair Beach, Bellaire Shore and Indian Rocks Beach to match or exceed Indian Shores’ contribution.
According To Robert Hill, Co-Chair of the Memorial Fund, “they (the cook books) are selling well, but always could be better!” The books are available at Three Palms Realty, Indian Rocks Beach Library, the IRB Welcome Center, the Cookie Cutter, Calvary Episcopal Church, Seafarer Marine (Walsingham Road), Beef O’ Brady’s (in the Barclay Square Plaza) and Indian Shores Town Hall” for a donation of $12.00. Donations for the cookbooks can also be made at Pinellas Suncoast Fire Station 27, 304 First Street. For more information on the memorial you can scan the QR code on this site.