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Date of Issue: January 23, 2008

West Manatee Fire accepts Twin Towers steel

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West Manatee Fire Rescue Chief Andy Price accepts a piece of steel from the World Trade Center from retired firefighter Dennis Doran. Anna Maria businessperson Sandy Mattick introduced Doran to Price and encouraged the memorial dedication. Islander Photos: Lisa Neff
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10 years and counting
West Manatee Fire Rescue District's Bryan Mikolay accepts his 10-year service award from Chief Andy Price during a district commission meeting Jan. 17 in Holmes Beach.

An opening in the rough steel clearly forms the shape of a cross.

Retired Jersey City, N.J., firefighter Dennis Doran pointed this out as he donated the piece of steel, a salvage piece from the World Trade Center, to the West Manatee Fire Rescue District.

Doran, standing with Island friend and businessperson Sandy Mattick, offered the memorial piece to WMFR Chief Andy Price during a commission meeting Jan. 17 at Station No. 1 in Holmes Beach.

Doran, who vacations on Anna Maria Island, served in the Jersey City Fire Department for 30 years before retiring in July 2006.

On Sept. 11, 2001, al-Qaeda terrorists coordinated suicide attacks against the United States by hijacking four commercial planes. One crashed into the Pentagon near Washington, D.C. One crashed in a field in Pennsylvania and two crashed into the World Trade Center in Manhattan, N.Y. The attacks killed 2,948 people; 24 remain missing and are presumed dead.

On that day, Doran went to work in Battery Park, the public park at the southern tip of Manhattan where survivors of the attack on the World Trade Center gathered en mass.

After the rescue effort at the Twin Towers had ceased, the salvage work began, Doran said.

The salvage piece he donated to WMFR last week is a small section of a steel beam. “I don’t know which tower it came from,” Doran said. “But I do know it came from Ground Zero.”

Doran decided to obtain the steel for WMFR after reading about a memorial the district plans to build at Station 1 on Marina Drive in Holmes Beach.

Of the nearly 3,000 who died in the attacks, 346 were emergency personnel, first-responders such as firefighters and police officers.

Commissioners endorsed the effort to memorialize fallen firefighters last year and hope to see the tribute dedicated this September.

Firefighter Carlo Valente and Battalion Chief Barry Brooks have worked with Anna Maria architect Gene Aubry to create a symbolic tribute to the Twin Towers. Funding for the memorial will be raised with donations.

Mattick helped put Doran in touch with district officials and encouraged the donation, which took longer to finalize than Doran anticipated.

“It was given to us by the city of New York,” he said.

He told firefighters and the commission last week, “I’m just glad towns like this are putting up memorials.”

In other business, Price presented Bryan Mikolay with a service award for 10 years of employment with the district. The commission also approved several reports and authorized the sale of some old and unused equipment.

The commission’s next meeting will be at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, at Station 1, 6001 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach.