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Local firefighters pay tribute to lost comrades

By Staff | Sep 12, 2016

CAROL SHETLER/The Luminary A first time 9/11 Memorial Walk by firefighters honoring those firemen who were fatalities of the infamous day fifteen years ago. The walk began in Mifflinburg on Sunday and ended at Hughesville. Escorted by the Montgomery Area Fire Company, the group gathered for a photo while resting briefly on the northern edge of the Montgomery borough before continuing to their destination.

MONTGOMERY – In honor of the 343 firefighters whose lives were lost during the September 11, 2001 attack and recovery, members of area Fire Companies initiated their first walk on the fifteenth anniversary of that infamous day.

It was indeed the ‘Last Call’ for hundreds of firemen in and around New York City when directed to the North Tower. They perished after the North Tower was hit by Flight 11 and the South Tower soon fell after Flight 175 careened into it.

While most events of remembrance honor all victims of that terrible Tuesday in 2001, this group of firefighters walked in honor of those they referenced as brothers, comrades, fellow firemen, and heroes.

“This is our first year for the walk,” said Jarred Fry of Mifflinburg, where the core group hit the road at 3 a.m. on Sunday, September 11, 2016. “We followed Route 45 (on foot) east, then turned onto Route 405. At the border of each district, we were met and escorted by local fire department members and apparatus.” The group passed through Lewisburg, Milton, Watsontown, Montgomery, and Muncy to their destination at the southern edge of Hughesville’s borough line.

The Luminary caught up with the group during a rest stop as they exited Montgomery. “We’ve been humbled by the response, we didn’t expect the fine cooperation we got,” said Fry.

CAROL SHETLER/The Luminary Along Route 405 north of Sherwood Corners near Montgomery, a couple prepared a patriotic display as friends gathered to watch the 9/11 Memorial Walkers pass. They included (Left to right): Barb and Zane Wentz, Tim Croucher, Chip Milheim, and Sue Croucher seated on bike.  

A patrolman in the Montgomery borough’s police cruiser led the procession. Bringing up the rear and driving Montgomery’s fire truck was Kevin Bryson with son Cory in the passenger seat. Marie Magyar followed in the company’s ambulance.

The youngest participant among the Montgomery contingent of walkers was two-year-old Ashlynn, daughter of Krista and Brad Feaster. The youngster was rolled along inside her comfy stroller.

A couple miles up the road north of Sherwood Corners, Sue and Tim Croucher and a few friends were gathering. Their yard had been decorated with a sign noting the flight numbers and identities of each crash site. The homemade ornament was sided with a pair of shiny silver angel wings.

Sue Croucher said, “This day means a lot to us. People need to be respectful of their fellow man.” Her late father-in-law was a paid fireman within Ward 2 at Williamsport. The couple honored him by having his helmet on display.

With the Croucher’s were Barb and Zane Wentz, who a year ago moved to the area. Zane is from the Pennsylvania town of York. Barb is from Long Island where she still has family who witnessed billowing smoke clouds following the burning and crumbling of the twin towers.

Joining them from the Muncy Hills was Tim Milheim, son of the late veteran Alvin Milheim, who said, “I support days devoted to our country’s patriotic events.”

Later, after the walking fire personnel passed the Croucher home, the group joined the 9/11 Memorial Motorcycle ride.