KEANSBURG, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A non-profit first responder group was awarded a 9/11 relic in 2011 by the Port Authority, but it needs funds to properly memorialize it.
Inside a garage in Keansburg, New Jersey is a national treasure — a 300-pound steel beam from the World Trade Center wreckage. It’s a sad reminder of one of the most tragic days in our history.
“It has been blessed by bishops. It has been blessed by rabbis. It’s not just a piece of steel to me. It’s really a memorial,” Joseph Walsh, president of the New Jersey First Aid Council, told CBS2’s Meg Baker on Monday.
Walsh said there are 9/11 memorials to firefighters and other first responders, but none dedicated solely to Emergency Medical Services workers.
“At the time, we have 56 on our list originally that perished were EMS first responders on 9/11 in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania,” Walsh said.
Walsh’s friend and fellow EMS volunteer, Paul Kennedy, has been housing the the steel beam while they raise money to build an official memorial. Their goal is more than $100,000. The steel sits below a bicycle rack, next to the lawnmowers and ready for its public debut.
A location has already been picked and a groundbreaking took place last year.
“We looked for places, came finally down to Keansburg Beach which is directly across from New York Harbor,” Kennedy said. “I want it to get done and I want to see it, because there are so many towns that have already done it.”
The council is not only accepting monetary donations; it is also looking for materials to help build the monument, CBS2’s Baker reported.
John Butterweck is in charge of the project. His wife worked diagonally from the towers, and survived the attack.
“She was on the ground when they were coming down, so personally this has a lot that means to me,” Butterweck said.
Meanwhile, he was in New Jersey frantically organizing teams of EMS volunteers to head to the towers to help. His dream is to finalize this by the next anniversary.
The memorial will also honor those still suffering from the affects of the tragic day. You can donate by clicking here.