BARTON – A 105-pound piece of I-beam from Ground Zero has made its way to the Northeast Kingdom. Thanks to the Kimtek Corporation of Westmore, that piece is now sealed in a special case fabricated of stainless steel and Plexiglass.
The Barton Ambulance Service obtained the piece of I-beam in 2003. It was part of a larger piece removed from the World Trade Center. Local officials are not sure who retrieved it from the site.
The mayor of Washingtonville, NY, presented the piece to members of the Barton Ambulance Service, whose members had made several visits to the New York community.
Philip Brooks, director of the Barton Ambulance Service, said several residents of Washingtonville, who were members of the New York City Fire Department, lost their lives at Ground Zero.
“It was one of the hardest hit areas outside New York City,” said Brooks.
After the attacks, members the Barton Ambulance Service learned about the community on a television news report and raised $4,500 for the community.
For the past several years, the I-beam has been stored at the Barton Ambulance Service. The service did not do anything with the piece before now because it would have been cost prohibitive. Kimball Johnson, owner of Kimtek, decided to make a case for the I-beam after speaking with Brooks.
“It’s in its original form,” said Johnson. “The dirt, dust, contaminates and anything else from 9/11 are still on it.”
At the time of the attacks, Johnson was a member of the Barton and Orleans Ambulance Services as well as Westmore Fire Chief. He said having his company make the permanent display case is an amazing honor.
“I’m proud to have it, I’m proud to display it and I’m proud of what it means,” said Brooks. He said it means something different to each individual. “It came directly from Ground Zero.”
Brooks called it a phoenix rising out of the ashes.
“It’s not just a randomly selected beam or piece of steel that was given to us as a memento of 9/11,” he said. “It was a piece of steel that came directly to a community that we helped, then a portion was passed on to show their appreciation for helping them. I think it adds that much more to it.”
The I-beam in its case will be on display during a memorial service at St. Paul’s Church in Barton on Sunday, Sept 11.