First responders to be celebrated with convoy

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Public encouraged to turn out in support of 9/11 heroes

By Ben Sheroan

A convoy of emergency vehicles will lead a damaged fire truck on its final excursion Tuesday afternoon before it becomes a museum piece.

A truck designated as Foam 161 was on standby at the Pentagon heliport Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists rammed the outer wall with a hijacked airliner. The truck and its three-member crew were less than 100 yards from the impact.

All three men aboard the truck that day — Alan Wallace, Dennis Young and Mark Skipper — will receive heroes’ welcomes at a series of events this week including Tuesday’s parade. It will follow U.S. 31W from the General George Patton Museum of Leadership at Fort Knox south to Public Square in Elizabethtown and back.

The damaged truck, which will be loaded aboard a truck for the convoy, will serve as centerpiece of an interactive exhibit being developed by Booz Allen Hamilton for the museum.

Organizers have commitments from a dozen local fire departments that will join the celebratory trip plus an ambulance from Hardin County Emergency Medical Services. They hope the public will turn out along the highway to show their appreciation of first responders.

“We hope to see people standing all along the route with their hand over their hearts, waving the American flag, waving,” said organizer Russ Gold. “We want to show that the community knows what it represents — our appreciation for first responders.”

The convoy will leave the museum parking lot at 2 p.m. and expects to reach the H.B. Fife Courthouse in 45 minutes. It will have a police escort through traffic signals and an average speed of about 25 mph.

Because the route is a loop, schools, businesses and homes along it will have two opportunities to salute the convoy as it passes in each direction.

Ben Sheroan can be reached at 270-505-1764 or bsheroan@thenewsenterprise.com.