From the Cumberland Times News - 9/23/2011
I was invited to attend the 10th anniversary 911 memorial ceremony at the Allegany County Detention Center on Sept. 11 by Lt. Rhonda Downton.
This was a very special night for me.
I arrived around lunch time with Alison Martin-Hamrick from the America’s 911 Foundation.
We met with Rhonda, her boyfriend Dale and also with my dear friend Harlan Smith.
Rhonda had some very special plans for the memorial services. She even arranged to have Officer Andy Tichnell escort me from our hotel to the Detention Center in Cresaptown.
Upon arrival I noticed the luminaries that had been placed on the grounds. There was a figure of a firefighter seated near a tree and I thought that it was a special touch.
Rhonda told me to go closer for a more personal look at the figure.
As I approached it I could see that it had the FDNY Squad 288 number on the helmet and the luminary had Joe Hunter's name on it.
The bunker gear had Joe's name on the back again with the FDNY Squad 288 designation.
Rhonda had arranged for this because it represented my son-in-law’s best friend who was lost in Tower Two on Sept. 11, 2001.
This was extremely emotional for me.
The actual ceremonies were filled with patriotic overtones and sadness for those lost in the terrorist attacks.
I received several remembrance items from the sheriff as well as from the local fire department personnel present.
The townspeople who attended were so kind to me.
It was my privilege to be asked to attend these very personal tributes to the fallen heroes.
Everyone in Cumberland and Cresaptown made me feel just like family returning home from abroad.
I wish to extend my personal appreciation for all of the emotions and love that I felt that evening as we joined together to honor our fellow Americans.
Please include my thoughts in your editorial section so everyone can understand what an honor this was for me.
My thoughts and prayers go out to all the citizens of your community.
Thank everyone for thinking of me.
God Bless Cumberland and God Bless America.
With pride and honor I remain respectfully,
Survivor of Tower Two
World Trade Center