I worked in the NYC metro area in 2001 and had become pretty familiar with the Manhattan area. One location our team worked at was about 10 blocks north of the World Trade Center. I was with a friend in August 2001 and had visited the observation deck on top of the south tower at both day and night.
Me with the twin towers in the background
I was scheduled to work the morning of 9/11 at that same location, 10 blocks from WTC. The buildings were hit before my carpool arrived. I could see the towers on fire from our office in West Orange, NJ. A month later, we were allowed back into the City. I will never forget the smell and all the sights. I was numb. I could no longer cry after a few days.
I returned to my home city of St. Louis due to a layoff. For a few years, I attended small ceremonies to honor the fallen, but that was all I could find. I came across the March to the Arch and fell in love with the concept of a 21 mile memorial walk. The first year I joined was in 2009 and I was instantly hooked. I walked with them for 7 years and met some golden people. The creator, Bo Drochleman is a friend, inspiration, and a mentor.
One of my 7 years walking in St. Louis
The St. Louis crowd in 2016, nearly 1,000 walkers on a Sunday!
In 2015, my family and I moved to Des Moines for a job opportunity. There, I started March to the Capitol because I didn’t feel like driving back to St. Louis every year.
The pictures from the March to the Capitol in Des Moines was during my short 2 year tenure of leadership.
Due to circumstances beyond our control, we moved to the South Bend area in 2018, where we hope to stay for many years.
When I discovered a 9/11 memorial in the area, I knew the walk would be centered around it. March to the Memorial started in 2018 with me walking solo for 95% of it. Bo Drochleman started March to the Arch in nearly the same fashion!
In 2018, while I was starting March to the Memorial, March to the Capitol carried on by 2 firefighters. A General from the Pentagon contacted us to speak at the opening ceremony!