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Archive for Sunday, August 27, 2006

Firefighters, fellow cyclists remember 9-11 with bike ride

Group to tour country

August 27, 2006

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— A group of cyclists and firefighters is riding across the nation to commemorate the five-year anniversary of the 9-11 attacks.

The riders, who stopped in Girard recently, are traveling to firehouses across the country to share their experiences and offer encouragement.

"Our goal is to get folks not to remember the tragic events of the time, but to remember the heroic deeds of the firefighters, the heroic deeds of the citizens as they rallied around and gave things to help rescue people," said ride coordinator Craig Duck.

A 20-year veteran of the Washington, D.C., Fire Department, Duck, 43, was one of the firefighters who responded to the plane that hit the Pentagon.

"It wasn't as large as the Trade Towers, but it still was a tough day; 184 people lost their lives, and a great portion of that building was destroyed," he said. "I was there for 12 hours, doing search-and-rescue work and firefighting."

The ride, sponsored by the Fellowship of Christian Fire Fighters and the International Association of Firefighters, started Aug. 1 in San Francisco.

In addition to honoring the fallen, the riders are hoping to raise money for the Washington, D.C., Burn Foundation and for the families of those who died in the Pentagon attack.

Duck says the group hopes to arrive at the Pentagon at 9:48 a.m. on Sept. 11, exactly five years after the attacks.

"It's 3,700 miles, and we'll do it in 42 days," he said.

Rich Lind, a retired firefighter from the Wichita area, is making the trip, as well as Washington, D.C., firefighter Tony Ferek and his wife, Cindy.

While five of the riders are active or retired firefighters, along for the ride are Denny Daylor, a retired schoolteacher from Wimberly, Texas, and Mike Marek, a student at Stanford University.

According to Girard Fire Chief Ron Pete Scales, the town is on the old Bike-Centennial trail, a route the riders are using for part of their journey across the Midwest.

The next stop for the riders is Walnut Grove, Mo. Once they leave Missouri, they will pass through Illinois, Kentucky and Virginia on their way to Washington.

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