JEFFERSON COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — The Elk Run Volunteer Fire Company was in need of a new engine and when they accepted one from a donor, they had no idea just how much history would come with it.
“I mean, a lot of us don’t get attached to fire trucks, I mean they come and go,” says Josh McAfoos, assistant chief of the Elk Run Fire Company.
That all changed, however, when the firefighters learned that this truck helped recovery efforts following the 9/11 attack on New York City’s Twin Towers.
“The guys around here have already stepped up and taken better care of it then they take care of the new one because of the history of it,” says McAfoos.
The truck originally belonged to the East Farmingdale Fire Company in Long Island, New York. It was the second truck the company sent the morning following the tragedy.
“It served us with great distinction. That truck, the ‘3’, went in that morning and relived the crew that was there all night and basically assisted with, I want to say search, but at that point it was basically more recovery operations,” says Duane Welliver, chief of the East Farmingdale Fire Company.
Chief Welliver says the truck was dedicated to a former fireman on their team who passed away at a young age. A decal was placed on the engine in honor of his service.
“It’s actually his tattoo, so that was put on in memory of him,” says Chief Welliver.
“The fire station that had it before us covered it up, which, I mean, to each their own,” says McAfoos. “Once we found out what the tattoo symbolized, we decided to have it put back on the truck.”
Additionally, Elk Run is acquiring a call log from the Farmingdale station on 9/11 and will hang it on the inside of the door.
Honoring the efforts of these New York heros has meant holding back on local traditions.
“Most of our trucks are yellow here. This one’s gonna stay red just for the simple fact, we want to keep it original as we can,” says Randy Wright, captain of the Elk Run Fire Company.
It’s a gesture of honor from Punxsutawney to New York.