September 3, 2014

Elyria
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Elyria Township firefighters receive piece of 9/11 steel for memorial

ELYRIA TWP. — The rusted piece of steel at the Fire Department weighs about 210 pounds and is heavy with symbolism.

The 18-inch by 18-inch fragment, which was presented to township trustees Monday, comes from the foundation of one of the World Trade Center towers. It will serve as a monument to the 343 New York City Fire Department firefighters and paramedics killed Sept. 11, 2001.

“There’s not a firefighter out there that wouldn’t have done the same thing given the same situation whether it’s full time, part time (or) volunteers,” said firefighter Tim Midkiff, who sought the fragment from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. “We’re all in it for the same reasons.”

Fragments from the towers — Midkiff said the authority didn’t specify which tower the fragment came from — have been given to fire departments around the nation. However, Midkiff, a member of the 24-firefighter, volunteer department since 1997, said he was pessimistic about receiving one when he wrote the authority in the summer because his request in early in 2010 was rejected. As part of receiving the monument, the department agreed not to alter the monument in any way.

In March, a large beam of steel from the World Trade Center was delivered to Lorain County Joint Vocational School. The 28-foot I-beam was cut into four pieces by welding and fabricating students and used in memorials in Ohio. The memorial at JVS in Pittsfield Township was dedicated in September.

The fragment sent to Elyria Township, which cost about $300 to be mailed, was delivered Dec. 19. The monument will be outside the fire station at 41416 Griswold Road or on township property next to the Rowland Nature Preserve at 7475 Murray Ridge Road, according to Trustee Rick Hutman, who suggested Midkiff write a second letter. Anyone with a proposal for the memorial has until Feb. 6 to drop one off at the station.

“Thanks for pursuing this,” Trustee Rob Scheithauer said at the presentation before the trustees meeting. “It’ll be a treasure well kept.”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.