2021 - August - CDT - Helping Hands

By: Jackie Naginey Hook
Thursday, August 12, 2021

I’ll always remember where I was. Like many other Tuesday mornings, I was following along with my Rodney Yee morning yoga DVD while our infant son lay next to me. When I finished, the TV was on NBC and the Today Show. The image on the screen was one of the Twin Towers with smoke billowing from it. Alarmed, I called to my husband, John, and he came into the room.

On most Tuesday mornings at this time, John would have already been in Manhattan. But this day, he was going in late because he had worked into the early morning at an event the night before. As we stood there watching the screen, we saw the plane hit the other tower. I vividly remember John’s and my eyes locking with a look of, “What next?”

While we tried to maintain a level of calm for our five-year-old daughter, John called his friend’s office who worked in a building next to the Twin Towers and encouraged them to leave. He called his coworkers and told them not to go into the office. Like many others in the world, we waited and watched. We waited, watched, prayed, stayed away and hoped for the best.

But while we were waiting, others were springing into action. Emergency workers were rushing to the scene to help. The courage, compassion and integrity that it takes to run towards danger is truly beyond me. Yes, I’ve stepped in the way of danger when my children were at risk, but as a professional who chooses to do it on a daily basis, I’m in awe and full of immense gratitude.

While holding that gratitude and in honor of the lives lost on September 11, 2001, Koch Funeral Home has joined with Alpha Fire Company to create a 20th Anniversary 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony. As two organizations whose missions are to care for and serve our community, this effort is designed to provide a meaningful space for neighbors to come together and remember.

Koch Funeral Home Supervisor and Funeral Director F. Glenn Fleming and Alpha Fire Company President Shawn Kauffman serve and care for this community. Fleming has spent more than 50 years honoring lives. And Kauffman believes strongly in first responders honoring those whose lives were lost.

The Ceremony will include guest speakers and a memorial ringing of the fire company bell at six specific moments recognizing the events of that tragic day. Afterwards, guests can tour the fire station and meet local first responders. Light food and drink will be available.

We hope you join us on Saturday, September 11, 2021 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Alpha Fire Company, 400 W. Beaver Avenue, State College, PA 16801.

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