FLOYD | A small piece of steel from a important piece of history was donated to the Floyd Community Volunteer Fire Department on Saturday.
The flat piece of steel, approximately 1 1/2 feet by 1 1/2 feet and with the words FDNY and 9-11-01 engraved in it, came from the World Trade Center in New York City.
"This piece of steel is a gift from the New York Fire Department to the Floyd Fire Department," said Warren Forsyth, FDNY Rescue 1, who was at the World Trade Center when the Twin Towers collapsed.
Forsyth got to know the Floyd Fire Department last year when he visited Iowa for the first time through the Purple Heart Tour. The tour brings military servicemen to Iowa for pheasant hunting.
"They brought it (the idea) to us," said Ben Chatfield, Floyd Fire Chief. "They decided we deserved a piece of steel. It's an honor to receive it."
Forsyth said Floyd firefighters have the same honor and compassion for human life as New York City firefighters. They, too, are willing to risk their lives like the 343 New York City firefighters who died on 9/11.
"I'm honored to be in here in Iowa, and I'm proud of the firefighters here," he said.
Forsyth was particularly impressed with 18-year-old Dallas Bast, Floyd, during this trip. Bast said he wrote a speech about how he was in first grade on Sept. 11, 2001 and wants to be a firefighter. Forsyth decided to honor Bast during the ceremony with a FDNY T-shirt and piece of World Trade Center steel made into a small cross.
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"It's an honor to receive it," Bast said afterwards.
Also honored during the ceremony with pieces of World Trade Center steel were Mike Talbott, who helps coordinate the Purple Heart Tour, and Randy Evans, Charles City, who houses the tour when it visits.
Retired New York firefighter Joe Pigott, of Ladder 78, spoke about how part of the terrorist attacks happened in Manhattan, but "it truly happened all over the country."
He said they could feel the nation rally around them and received tremendous support at ground zero.
"That's why we truly appreciate what you guys do," said Pigott, who had never been to Iowa before. "Thank you very much for having us. You're small town is amazing."
"I really truly wish I could have grew up in a place like this," he added. "All of you people truly seem like family."
The ceremony, which was attended by over 150 people, also included songs by Heartland Harmony, color guard, two songs performed by John Morris on the bagpipes, Taps and a blessing and invocation by Pastor Debbie Lincoln.
Chatfield said the steel will be housed inside the fire station until next year when the department plans to build a memorial garden, which will include the names of all 343 New York City firefighters killed on 9/11.