Industriously working as a team, 24 Carroll County Career and Tech students bolted supports and poured concrete to reinforce a steel girder Tuesday morning. The beam is an artifact from the Sept. 11, 2001, World Trade Center attack and will be the centerpiece of a 9/11 memorial at the Carroll County Volunteer Emergency Services Association in Westminster.
"It's unbelievable," said CCVESA's Emergency Medical Services Training Coordinator Curtis Wiggins Sr. as he watched the entire process. "It brings back a lot of memories. I'm very proud we could get it here."
In 2014, CCVESA's training center manager Shane Darwick contacted the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's World Trade Center Artifact Giveaway Program. He requested an artifact from the 9/11 WTC attack to be displayed in front of CCVESA's new training center. The center was completed in 2015.
CCVESA received confirmation in August that it would receive a steel girder approximately 14 feet long, 2 feet wide and 9 inches high. In October, the beam was delivered to the training center with a police escort.
Tech Center masonry instructor Mike Campanile and Tech Center welding instructor Mike Schweinsberg supervised students as they erected the memorial designed by Tech Center drafting students. Cosmetic work will continue over the next few weeks.
"We cut the support beams last week, and today we set them in place," Schweinsberg said. "We also poured concrete to support the overall structure. When we're finished, we'll start putting in the lights, gravel base and blocks for the benches.
"I think everything went great. Everybody did a great job working together."
Career and Tech student Jared Lafferty, of Westminster, has been among the students helping to prepare the site over the last two weeks.
"I just wanted to do it for our firefighters," Lafferty said. "My uncle went to help during 9/11. I feel like this is an important representation of how we came together after what happened. We need to remember the brave people that served and did what they were supposed to do."
Tech student Lucas Beacham, of Taneytown, helped bolt the supports onto the 9/11 beam and mix concrete Tuesday.
"I think this is a good way to thank the firefighters for what they do, Beacham said. "They keep us safe."
David Benner, of Taneytown, a Tech Center student who helped mix concrete to pour into the beam's supports, said his family wasn't personally affected by 9/11, but said he understood the effect of the event on the country.
"I look around a see and bunch of memorials, but I don't see a lot of 9/11 memorials," Benner said.
CCVESA's administrative assistant Neal Roop, who watched as the memorial was assembled, said he was witnessing something great.
"It's very emotional knowing that these young men were only 1 or 2 years old when it happened. You can see the pride on their faces," Roop said. "It's very meaningful for them to take part in this. … They're part of history. This memory will last a lifetime."
Roop said the memorial's dedication is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, Sept 11 — the 15th anniversary of the 2001 attacks.