Sasee Will Never Forget: 9/11 Memorial at Midway Fire Rescue

By Leslie Moore

Since 1961, Midway Fire Rescue has been providing service for an 80 square mile area, from Litchfield Beach to DeBordieu Colony. From an all volunteer department, it has grown to include three full-time paid stations with 64 full-time career and 15 volunteer positions. Led by Chief Doug Eggiman, the three stations expect to respond to more than 4,000 calls for assistance this year alone. Chief Eggiman started volunteering for Midway Fire Rescue in 1985, was hired in 1986 and made chief in 2003. This veteran firefighter was honored by the opportunity to oversee the placement of a 9/11 Memorial in 2011 at Headquarters Station.

“We, of course, have a tremendous connection with the firefighters that were lost on 9/11. And, our community has many transplants from the New York City area that were there that day or knew someone who was lost,” the chief explained when telling me about the acquisition of this amazing piece of history.

A few years after 9/11, public entities were offered the opportunity to acquire a piece of the World Trade Center. There were stipulations – the piece had to be displayed where the public could see it, and it had to be handled with the utmost respect. “We thought it would be appropriate to create some kind of memorial for our community,” the Chief remembered. It took close to a year, but Midway Fire Rescue was approved for this great honor. The piece was picked up and driven to Pawleys Island by a Midway Rescue Squad volunteer who retired to our community from the New York City area.

When the piece arrived, the next decision was how to display it. “We wanted it outside where the public would have easy access.” Before any decision could be made, the station was approached by a Boy Scout, Austin Meares, who wanted to fund, design and build the memorial as his Eagle Scout project. “Austin raised nine thousand dollars to construct the memorial; creating the entire structure with the help of his fellow scouts. He is an amazing young man.” The pride and affection in the chief’s voice was obvious as he told me this story.

I asked about the ceremony, which was held on the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center. “It was really one of the highlights of my career,” the chief said, his voice cracking with emotion. “There were between two and three hundred people present with several distinguished speakers, a bagpiper and a helicopter flyover. The horrific attacks on our country on 9/11 are the defining event of our generation, and everyone present at the ceremony that day was in tears. All of us remember exactly where we were when the towers were attacked and subsequently collapsed in flames.”

The memorial itself is awe inspiring. A relatively small piece of a metal girder is encased in thick Plexiglas and mounted on a beautiful stand in front of the flags at the Midway Fire Rescue Headquarters. Just looking at this 93 pound piece of metal gives viewers an idea of the strength of an explosion strong enough to twist a girder built to hold up a skyscraper.

As we left, Chief Eggiman told me that he had met a few of the firefighters that were on duty that fateful day. “It was an incredibly tough time and is now a part of the culture of the fire service as a whole. So many firefighters went in that day sure they weren’t going home.”

People stop by Midway Fire Rescue frequently to pay their respects at the memorial, leaving a flower or saying a prayer or even taking a photo. “It’s a place for the community to remember. We will never forget.”

Midway Fire Rescue Stats

Population Served:

Permanent – 23,000

Peak – 40,000-60,000

Square Miles:

Approximately 80

Emergency Runs:

Expected to be 4,000

in 2017 (The first time ever)

Vehicles

Engines: 3

Quints: 3

Heavy Rescue: 1

Tanker/Engine: 1

Ambulances: 4

Water Craft: 7

Haz Mat Unit: 1

Medical ATV:  1

Beach Units: 4

Staff Vehicles: 7

Personnel

Shift Personnel: 57

Staff Personnel: 7

Volunteers: 15

About this writer

  • Leslie Moore

    Leslie Moore

    Leslie Moore is the editor for Strand Media Group. A 25 year resident of Pawleys Island, she is blessed with a life filled with the love of family and friends and satisfying work to do every day.

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