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Special flag to fly above Arbutus fire house Sept. 11

As the daughter of a veteran firefighter, Teresa Tingler's decision on what to do with the raffle prize she won on Aug. 2 was easy, especially since the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 only six weeks away.

She plans to share her prize, a 3- by 5-foot flag depicting the silhouette of a firefighter behind the skyline of New York City, with the Arbutus Volunteer Fire Department.

"I look at (the flag) and think of all the sacrifices that firefighters and the cops make every day for us," said Tingler, whose father, Norman Busard, served as a Baltimore firefighter for 35 years. "I can't even hear a fire engine go by without getting chills."

The flag will help the department commemorate the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11 as it accompanies the American flag that typically flies over the Arbutus Volunteer Fire Department on Southwestern Boulevard

"All she is asking, is for the fire department to fly this to represent the community's and fire department's commitment to never letting 9/11 die," said Capt. Doug Simpkins, of the Arbutus Volunteer Fire Department.

As significant as flying the flag is to Tingler, it will impact the volunteers at the station just as much, Simpkins said.

"It has a personal effect for her, because she's helping," Simpkins said. "And it has a very personal effect for us, because we were slapped with 9/11."

Of the nearly 3,000 people who died in the Sept. 11 attacks, 343 were firefighters.

"We have rebounded. We've recovered. We're trying to make it so it never happens again," Simpkins said. "At the same time, we're never going to forget the people who perished in the awful attack."

After flying the flag on the anniversary, the fire department will return it to Tingler, a life-long Arbutus resident.

Tingler, 54, said she would put it in a display case but would consider letting others use it for patriotic displays.

In her mind, Tingler can still smell the fire that would linger on her father's clothes when he returned home from a shift in which he fought a particularly nasty fire, she said.

The memory of her father, who died in 1997 as a retired firefighter, and her desire to support active firefighters led Tingler to check out the 9-11 Patch Project bus outside of the Northrop Grumman building where she has worked as a financial analyst for 31 years.

According to its website, the 9-11 Patch Project began in December 2001 to sell patches and other memorabilia with the image that is emblazoned on Tingler's flag.

Money raised from the sales is donated to Sept. 11 charities.

As part of the project, Craig Freeman, a retired firefighter, and his wife, Craig, embarked on an 11,000-mile journey in January. They left Manhattan Beach, Calif., with the goal of arriving in Manhattan, New York, according to a release from Northrop Grumman.

During their eight-month journey, the pair stopped at fire and police stations to sell the commemorative patches, pins and decals, the release stated, to raise money for FDNY Bravest Scholarship Fund, Feel Good Foundation and Terry Farrell Fund.

When the Freemans stopped at the Northrop Grumman Volunteer Fire Brigade Aug. 2, Tingler purchased several patches and pins, in addition to a $1 raffle ticket.

Brett Hill, the 9-11 Patch Project founder, said he was happy to hear of Tingler's plan to lend the flag to her local fire department.

"For her to take that flag, which I'm sure is very personal and meaningful to her, and lend it to the fire department is quite a gesture," said Hill, a firefighter in California. "You think she would fly it in front of her house. She's giving that honor up to the local fire department. It's very kind."

Tingler said she hopes the flag will have an impact on everyone who sees on Sept. 11.

"I hope that they remember the firefighters and the policemen, of course" Tingler said. "(But also) freedom and the people who fight for freedom. We can never take it for granted. There are always people out there willing to lay down their lives for us."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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