By Anna Inbody, November 20, 2011
5. Back of Dedication Plaque
Lexington Life Dan Hennigan
"I'm glad I can get involved in things that improve our community."
The story of the First Responders Memorial began on the morning of September 10, 2009 in front of the Lexington County Administration Building in South Carolina. Daniel C. Hennigan, US Army (retired) stood next to two White Knoll Middle School students as they read their winning essays about their personal 9/11 experience in front of an audience of community leaders and citizens. The honorable guest speakers at this event hosted by Lexington County and the Town of Lexington were FDNY Battalion #32 Chief Jack Oehm, Captain Mike Kendall and Firefighter Tony Catapano (2008 Man of the Year). These three firefighters all represented FDNY Ladder 101 Firehouse in Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY, the recipient of the fire truck donated by White Knoll Middle School in early 2002. The truck runs out of this firehouse today on the 10th anniversary of 9/11/2001. After the ceremony, the two WKMS students, along with committee members, teachers, SC first responders, FDNY firefighters, and Mr. Hennigan left South Carolina and traveled to New York to attend a candle light service at the Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance in Coney Island, NY.
This service honored the 416 fallen first responder Heroes who gave their lives attempting to rescue citizens in the burning World Trade Center Towers on 9/11/2001. The two WKMS students again read their essays to the thousands in attendance. While listening to the essays and admiring the wall, Mr. Hennigan was inspired to build a memorial to honor the First Responders in South Carolina. On November 19, 2009, Mr. Hennigan applied for artifacts from the destroyed World Trade Center and his request was approved on August 12, 2010. Mr. Hennigan along with SC firefighters Captain Tommy Amick, Captain Ben Smith and Firefighter Burl Vreeland, met with FDNY Chief of Department Ed Kelduff and traveled to New York JFK Airport on September 7, 2010 to receive an award of two steel beams from the World Trade Center. The board of directors, CEO Mr. Ric Luber and GM Mr. Mack Stone granted the Memorial Committee a site for the memorial at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. On September 11, 2010 the beams were part of the ceremony remembering 9/11/2011 in Columbia, SC. Here, Mr. Hennigan, Chairman, and Vice Chairman, Irmo Fire Chief Mike Sonefeld, met Mrs. Dawn Yamashiro who lost her brother on 9/11/2011 in Tower 1. As a committee member Dawn has since provided strength and leadership. Although there are too many to name, other volunteers have stepped forward by contributing their expertise, labor and resources to help propel the project towards completion. Without the dedication and support from Chairman Hennigan and Vice Chairman Chief Sonefeld, along with many South Carolina community leaders, local businesses and committee volunteers, a project like this could have taken decades.