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First Aid Squad Brings Home a Piece of the World Trade Center

Tue, 2012-06-19 19:00 -- John Staunton

Published in the Independent Press and  Click here.

The Summit Volunteer First Aid Squad was recently awarded a piece of steel from the former World Trade Center which is now on display in their building.  About 1,800 such artifacts are or will be given to public safety agencies and local governments that successfully apply.

Squad Captain Kari Phair submitted an application on behalf of the Squad to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey last year.  The Squad was selected based on their significant response to the September 11, 2001 tragedy in the hours and days that followed and the fact that an active member of the Squad, Ian Thompson was lost in the attack.  The section of steel I-beam which measures 19” long x 12” wide x 11” tall and weighs 110 lbs, has been set up as a memorial to Ian.

Squad members Mike D’Ecclessiss and Kari Phair drove to Kennedy Airport to pick up the artifact.

On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, The Summit First Aid Squad received the request for assistance from New York City just before 10 AM.  Within the hour, they would receive a request for an additional ambulance crew at Liberty State Park as well as assistance in treating numerous train passengers headed from New York to Summit.  Over 40 off duty members answered the call for help that day.  The Squad was able to borrow an additional 3 ambulances from a local dealer and staffed all six units, evaluating and treating over 600 people as they stepped off trains at the Summit station.  In the days that followed, 14 Summit First Aid Squad volunteers participated in the rescue/recovery operation at the WTC site.

Ian Thompson had been a volunteer EMT with the Squad for 6-1/2 years and worked in the World Trade Center.  It is believed that Ian may have been attempting to help others at the time he was lost, just as he had done during the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.  As a result, his tragic loss was declared a line of duty death by the NJ Commissioner of Health.  Since that time, both of Ian’s daughters have also served as volunteers with the Squad.  8 other Summit residents were lost on 9/11/01, including Todd Rancke, who had been a junior member of the Squad years earlier.