Last year, members of the Brighton Area Fire Department drove to Staten Island, New York and to hang in a memorial in front of Fire Station 31.
While the community came together and donated materials and volunteer hours to get the site ready in time for the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, today the memorial still stands unfinished.
Katy Kerch hopes to rectify that by holding the first Brighton 9/11 Memorial 5K Run, Walk event on Sept. 8 - the weekend of the Smokin' Jazz & Barbecue Blues Festival in downtown Brighton.
Kerch, whose husband works for PNC Bank of Brighton, said the 5K idea came from the bank looking to do something to give back to the community. Kerch said instead of just donating money, they wanted to do something to get the community involved - so PNC Bank will match all donations made.
According to Brighton Fire Chief Mike O'Brian, the memorial still needs a monument sign, flag poles moved and the names of the 343 firefighters who died in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center engraved.
"From my standpoint, it was really a win-win," O'Brian said about the event. "We've really been working on physical fitness within the organization. A fit fire department helps make the community a little more fit. It matched."
The run will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday morning. The course runs through downtown Brighton, around Brighton High School and finishes at Fire Station 31. Cost to register is $40.
O'Brian put out a challenge and three fire stations have a some of their staff running or walking in the event, including the Hartland-Deerfield Fire Authority.
"When an event like the Brighton 9/11 Memorial 5K Run/Walk comes around, many like to step up and help make a difference in completing the 9/11 memorial in the City of Brighton," Hartland-Deerfield Fire Marshal Michael Bernardin wrote in an email to Hartland Patch. "Having a piece of the world trade centers located in Livingston County should, in my opinion, be considered a very high honor. That "piece" of steel is a reminder. A reminder to all that nothing should be taken for granted, ever."
Bernardin, along with five other Hartland firefighters will be participating in Saturday's event and although Bernardin says he will not be running in full gear, he is proud of the ones who are.
"I'm proud of them and I'll raise my glass as they go by," he said.
Bernardin also encourages community members to stop by and support the race.
"Use it as an opportunity to do your part in helping to complete the memorial," he said. "Even if you only come down to take a look at the memorial located in front of the Brighton Fire Station #31 on Grand River."
Participating Hartland firefighters include:
- Ryan Bennett - Firefighter
- Mike Bernardin - Fire Marshal
- Josh Hollister - Firefighter
- Todd Murphy - Firefighter
- Jim Petrucci - Sergeant
- Jennifer Whitbeck - Firefighter
Sponsors include Fitness Sponsors, Inc., Hungry Howie's of Brighton, Elite Feet, TEAM BEAV, Inc. and The Greater Brighton Area Chamber of Commerce.
For more information on the 5K or to register, visit www.isupportbrighton.com.