How It Started
In July of 2011, firefighters purchased former FDNY Rescue 3 from the City of New York, when it was going to be scrapped, for the purpose of creating the REMEMBRANCE RESCUE PROJECT. The Project was the only successful bidder for the Rescue.
Unfortunately, Rescue 3 had an immediate catastrophic engine failure. Without the financial means to replace the engine, the Project contacted the scrap yard that had purchased its sister rig, former Rescue 4, at auction as well. The Project made arrangements to swap trucks in order to have a functional rig for the Project’s purpose. However, Rescue 4 had been sold without its cab doors, so the available parts were taken off Rescue 3 prior to its destruction and replaced on Rescue 4. The Rescue still required additional mechanical work before leaving NYC, which was completed by a local repair shop in Queens. In August, the Rescue was flat bedded to Chicago, where the Project is headquartered.
In December of 2011, the last of the 9/11 era FDNY Rescues was decommissioned and place up for sale by the City of New York. Following the gracious response from people across the country with Rescue 4, the
Project understood the importance of saving the last of these rigs from the shredder. Again, the Project was the lone and successful bidder of former Rescue 5 during the open auction.
What is the Project?
The project now involving former FDNY Rescue 4 and Rescue 5 is an educational, non-for-profit effort focused at society, especially youngsters who were too young to actually understand the events of September 11th and what that day means to all of us.
The Remembrance Rescue Project allows the Rescues to serve as mobile memorials to Educate, Honor and Remember the events of 9/11 and all firefighters killed in the line of duty throughout the country every year.
Rescue 4 and Rescue 5 are currently the only operational fire apparatus from 9/11 outside New York City.
The Project is not an FDNY operation, but a national campaign for 9/11 education and remembrance for all fallen firefighters. The Project is a registered 501c3 not-for-profit organization and funds generated are used to restore, preserve and operate the Rescues in order to facilitate education sessions, memorials and remembrance events.
How it works
The project is operated by firefighters from across the country, who generously volunteer their time. The Project is assisted by host fire departments throughout the country to coordinate educational sessions with the Rescues for local schools, community events and memorials. There are no paid members within the Remembrance Rescue Project and all donations and proceeds are used for restoration, fuel, repairs and travel for each rescue truck.
Rescue 4’s restoration work was completed by a group of amazing volunteers in September of 2011. In the Projects’ first 12 months, the Rescue was a part of a variety of community events and memorials with estimated attendances totaling 900,000 people . The Project continuously travels throughout the United States and currently has requests from host departments across the country.
In December of 2011, the last of the 9/11 era FDNY Rescues was decommissioned and place up for sale by the City of New York. Following the gracious response from people across the country with Rescue 4, the Project understood the importance of saving the last of these rigs from the shredder. Again, the Project was the lone and successful bidder of former Rescue 5 during the open auction. Rescue 5. Rescue 5 was brought to the Project’s Chicago facility, where its restoration was completed in April of 2012.
Rescue 5 is currently operated out of the Project’s Chicago facility and travel throughout the Eastern states, while Rescue 4 operates out of Texas and continues the Project’s mission throughout the Western states.
How were the rescues restored?
Once in Chicago, Rescue 4 required further restoration with mechanical work, new body paint, emergency lighting and tires. Volunteers and family members from a local body shop worked tirelessly to prep and paint the truck in order to have it ready for a variety of 9/11 10th Anniversary events. The body shop volunteers graciously helped the Project with the necessary labor, with the Project responsible for the considerable paint and material costs. Used emergency lighting was purchased for the apparatus. New tires were donated by Continental Tire in early 2012.
In order to maximize the life of any restoration work with Rescue 5, a local truck body shop committed to completing necessary paint and body work. The shop generously completed the work on Rescue 5 at a discounted cost to the Project. Some emergency lighting was donated by Code 3 with additional items purchased for the apparatus. New tires were donated by Continental Tire in early 2012.
To date, the Project has completed an exterior restoration of both Rescues. The interior of both rigs is original with no current plans for updating.
How does the project operate with only volunteers and donations?
The project is operated by firefighters (mostly IAFF) from across the country, who generously volunteer their time to facilitate events and transport the Rescues from town to town. There are no paid members within the Remembrance Rescue Project and all donations and proceeds from t-shirt sales are used for restoration, fuel, repairs and travel for each rescue truck. The Project depends on host fire departments throughout the country to coordinate educational sessions with the Rescues for local schools, community events and memorials. As a host department, each organization is responsible to store, maintain and operate the Rescue for local community events, remembrance activities and educational sessions.
The Project does not have the resources to have Project firefighters stay with the rig every day of the year. Host departments have the opportunity to assign 2-3 firefighters as drivers for the Rescue during a visit. This allows host departments the ability to schedule and facilitate their own events. Drivers are listed as members of the Remembrance Rescue Project during its visit and additionally placed as drivers with the Project’s insurance. When the rig is transitioned from one department to another, any driver and additional department personnel assisting with the Rescue’s visit are asked to attend an orientation for the Rescue and the Project’s operations. This design has allowed the Rescue to have a greater reach into the community during visits.
The Project has been well received and continues to grow and develop. The Project’s immediate goal is to educate children across the country with regards to the history and events of September 11th. The Project is driven to keep the remembrance alive for all fallen firefighters, while preserving the 2 surviving Rescues from 9/11 as mobile teaching tools and memorials. The Rescues will always represent the greatest sacrifice in FDNY, but they are also key artifacts to understanding and remembering the largest tragedy in modern American history.