Over the past two weeks Plano Fire-Rescue hosted a series of events to remember the attacks that happened on Sept. 11 twenty years ago.
On Sept 5., Fire Station 8 held an official unveiling of its 9/11 mural. The art was installed more than a year ago, but the station was never able to host an official celebration. Since then, more of the station was also filled out. The family of fallen New York firefighter Kevin O’Rourke donated his helmet, allowed the station to recreate his locker on-site.
“Some of the firefighters call the station a museum now,” firefighter Larson Leidig says
Organizers originally intended to make this a large-scale community event but scaled back plans back due to the ongoing pandemic. There were still fun and games for a smaller group of kids was well and a firefighter obstacle course.
Among those in attendance were NYOD Sergeant Michele Mason, MaryAnn O’Rourke, wife of Kevin O’Rourke, who died on 9/11. His daughter Jamie O’Rourke, brother-in-law Patrick Jackson and sister-in-law Robin Blackwell were on hand as well. Also attending were Tom Lynch, the brother of New York firefighter Michael Lynch, who also died on 9/11; O’Rourke Craig G Loewy, Retied FDNY, Tom Hudgins, US Army Special Operations; Eleven members of FDNY and six Members of Houston FD
On Sept.10, the fire station also hosted a dinner that included families of firefighters who died in the 2001 attack on the Twin Towers. Members of the Orange County Choppers were also on hand. Guests included Michele Mason, NYPD Sergeant Retired; Paul McCormack, NYPD Deputy Inspector Retired; Tom Lynch, Brother of FDNY Michael Lynch; Margaret McDonnell, widow of police officer Brian McDonnell; Katie McDonnell, daughter of police officer Brian McDonnell; Patrick Jackson, Brother in-law of FDNY Kevin O’Rourke; NYPD Officer James Smith, widower of police officer Moira Smith; Luisa Cioffi, widow of Lt Steven Cioffi; Angela Cioffi, sister of Lt. Steven Cioffi; Tom Hudgins, US Army Special Operations; Billy “Broskino” Sesselman , Retired FDNY; Jay Hartley, Retired FDNY; Sergeant Major Rob Sluss, US Army Retired; Gus Cabarcus, NYPD Sergeant Retired, and Andy Chimel, NYPD Detective Retired.
On Saturday the full department held its official ceremony at the Central Fire Station. Afterwards the Plano Fire-Rescue Association sponsored a pub-crawl in downtown Plano. Pipes and drums rotated between Vickery Park, the Fillmore Pub and Urban Crust.
“Our mission at Plano Fire-Rescue is to keep the sacrifices of the 9/11 heroes at the forefront of our nations/community’s consciousness,” Leidig said. “Our goal for the event is to celebrate the life these men and women lived, more so than mourning their loss.”