After a successful day of golf, the Cranberry Township Volunteer Fire Company is another step closer to erecting a monument in memory of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
On Wednesday, the company held its first ever golf outing at the Cranberry Highlands Golf Course. The cost to golf was $125 per person, or $500 for a foursome, with proceeds benefitting the 9/11 memorial project.
Fire company President Bruce Hezlep said the outing—including a $5,000 donation from MSA in Cranberry—raised about $17,000 for the monument, which will be located in front of the Park Fire Station on Route 19.
“The support from the community has been just overwhelming,” Hezlep said.
About 87 golfers participated in the outing, which followed a shamble format. At each of the holes—which were manned by volunteer firefighters—golfers were given an opportunity to try out the latest drivers, hybrids or irons. Participants also were given gifts from a bevy of prizes, including a 32-inch flat screen television, donated by local businesses.
With the money from Wednesday’s event, Hezlep said the company will have raised about $46,000—the amount needed to complete construction on the memorial.
“It’s been a great event for a great cause,” said Craig Walker, supervisor of golf operations at Cranberry Highlands.
Also attending Wednesday's outing was Cranberry Cpl. Dan Hahn, who was seriously injured in February 2011 after a car chase that ended with him falling more than 20 feet from a highway overpass in Jackson Township.
“I wanted to support the fire department because the fire department has gone above and beyond in supporting me,” Hahn said.
The veteran police officer, who these days walks assisted by a cane, spent months in a rehabilitation center recovering from injuries to his back, shoulder, sternum and other fractures before returning home. Prior to that happening, firefighters paid a visit to his house to complete all the household chores Hahn was unable to do.
“I love those guys, they’re my brothers,” he said.
The 9/11 memorial will be structured around an 832-pound piece of twisted steel that fell from one of the World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11 2001.
Holding up the damaged I-beam will be two slabs of granite shaped like the twin towers. A likeness of the New York City block where the buildings were located will be etched into the concrete surrounding the beam and there also will be a timeline of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Hezlep said he and fellow firefighter Jeff Berneburg, who is chairman of the company’s 9/11 committee, got the idea for the storyboard last April while in New York City to pick up the piece of steel.
Accompanying the men to the John F. Kennedy airport hanger where the Ground Zero artifacts were stored was Hezlep’s son, Nathan. Hezlep recalled how he watched in fascination as Nathan, now 11, intently studied a timeline showing the history of the attacks.
“I watched him probably for half an hour reading this whole thing,” Hezlep said.
It was then it struck him that while many can remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when the first plane stuck the World Trade Center, others, like Nathan, were simply too young to know what was happening. Hezlep noted his 9-year-old daughter, Anna, wasn’t even born yet.
It is for the younger generation that Hezlep said the company is outlining the day’s events—and they’ll be able to view it soon.
Concrete already has been poured for the monument’s footers. Hezlep said he hopes the memorial will be complete in time for Sept. 11 2012, the 11th anniversary of the attacks.