Local residents with Red Cross ties reflect on 9/11 attacks | Local News


When terrorists attacked the United States on September 11, 2001, at least two people from Jefferson County mobilized to help the victims.

Chris Harmon, who grew up in Jefferson County but was living in Springfield at the time, overworked his work with the American Red Cross, and Festus’ Teena Kilo was inspired to join the Red Cross as that volunteered to help in any way she could.

Both were featured on the Red Cross website, reflecting the 20th anniversary of the tragic event.

Harmon, 48, now living in Imperial, is the Missouri and Arkansas Red Cross regional disaster officer.

A 1991 graduate of Fox High School, he remembers the madness of the days after the 9/11 attack, even as far as the Red Cross service center in Springfield.

“It was a difficult time in our history to understand,” he said.

His office has set up a system to process donations and train volunteers to travel to New York City to help those in need.

“I had to send volunteers over there,” Harmon said. “The Red Cross provided services to those who lived near the towers (of the World Trade Center). “

Four months later, Harmon was deployed in January 2002 to New York City, where he worked at a Red Cross respite center near Ground Zero from the World Trade Center attacks.

“I interviewed a lot of people, to find out who they were and give them immediate help,” he said.

Harmon said he always had strong emotions about the attacks and the aftermath, and he wonders how many people feel the same.

“My personal belief is that we are not doing a good enough job (commemorating the attacks),” he said.

Harmon returned to Jefferson County in 2014.


Kilo, 67, said watching planes crash into the World Trade Center on television on the morning of September 11 had moved her.

“At that point, I decided to volunteer for the Red Cross,” she said.

Kilo called the St. Louis Red Cross office on the day of the attacks and the next morning he volunteered for the organization.

“I worked for the Red Cross in a telephone bank – it was my role as a volunteer,” she said.

“We were one of the main National Red Cross telephone banks. Calls were coming from all over the country for the Red Cross. There were people who wanted to donate blood. There was a guy I remember who owned a pizza place who wanted to donate pizzas to the 9/11 volunteers. “

Kilo worked at the Red Cross call center for the next seven days.

She remembers that people in general were dazed as a result of the attacks.

“I think all over the country people were still absorbing 9/11,” she said.

Twenty years later, Kilo is still a volunteer for the regional section of the Red Cross in Saint-Louis.

“I am proud to be a Red Cross volunteer,” she said. “Today, I do all of my volunteering virtually from home. I volunteer about four hours a week, unless they ask for more.

She has assisted victims of fires, floods and other natural disasters as a member of the Red Cross direct action team, providing them with orientation assistance, shelter and services. food.

“Yes, it has been gratifying,” Kilo said.

County events pay tribute to 9/11 first responders

Numerous events took place in Jefferson County on Saturday to honor first responders and remember the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

This year marked the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center Twin Towers in New York City, damaged the Pentagon just outside Washington, DC, and crashed an airliner in a field. of Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

The Town of Arnold held its 10th Annual 9/11 Tribute Service at the Arnold Recreation Center; the Arnold Food Pantry hosted a race in honor of first responders at Arnold City Park; and the northwest branch of the Jefferson County Library in High Ridge created an exhibit containing information on the attacks and the US response.

“I think people thought about it more,” Arnold Mayor Ron Counts said of the 20th anniversary of the attacks. “It’s up to us to give people time to think about the day and what came after. In addition, there are now young people who were not born when it happened, and it is a chance to educate them on that day and what followed.

Tribute service to September 11

About 70 people attended the town of Arnold’s 9/11 ceremony held outside the recreation center which houses a memorial featuring a piece of metal from the World Trade Center that was destroyed during terrorist attacks, said Teresa Kohut, Arnold’s parks and recreation manager.

Earls and State Representative Dan Shaul (R-Imperial) spoke at the ceremony. The ceremony also allowed people to place 20 roses in front of the monument that contains the World Trade Center piece of metal.

In addition, there was a bell ringing to honor the first responders.

“There was a good crowd there, and it was a bit more than in the past,” Kohut said. “Maybe it’s because it was a Saturday, and maybe it got more on people’s minds with the 20th anniversary. I think people also feel grateful in light of the recent sacrifices. I would say the tone was patriotic and grateful.

Counts said he was happy with attending the ceremony, which was a way for the city to show its appreciation to its first responders.

“We are so grateful for the great job that first responders are doing,” he said. “I think this is another way for our community to say thank you to first responders.”

Kohut said about half of the crowd stayed for a free reception of donuts and coffee following the ceremony.

Pantry race

The Arnold Food Pantry Tribute to First Responders run drew 80 runners, said Ed Fitzhenry, executive director of the Pantry, which serves residents of Fox School District C-6 and beyond.

He said 15 of the participants were first responders and they did not have to pay the registration fee.

“It went really well,” said Fitzhenry. “The weather was great, and it’s always conducive to a good time. It was a festive atmosphere. I think people are looking for opportunities to go out and do things, and this was an opportunity to do it.

Registration fees for the 5K run and 1 mile run / walk, sponsor contributions and raffle money raised approximately $ 12,000 for the Pantry, based at 2024 Key West Drive.

“Fundraising is about 40% of the money we need to run,” said Fitzhenry. “Every little bit counts.”

Fitzhenry said plaques were presented to the top three male and female runners as well as the top three in each age group. He said the participants were between 8 and 77 years old.

Devin Klemp, 34, of St. Louis was the overall best man in 18 minutes, 26.5 seconds. Jennifer Cox, 39, of Herculaneum, clocked the best runners’ time and the third best overall time at 22: 03.1.

Northwest branch

The Northwest Branch of the Jefferson County Library, 5680 Hwy. PP, in High Ridge, had a display of posters depicting archival images, artifacts, individual stories, and explanatory text on the terrorist attacks and their aftermath.

He also hosted a virtual story hour with members of the High Ridge Fire Protection District, North Jefferson County Ambulance District and the Hillsboro Police Department, who shared stories about what it means. being a first responder and what 9/11 means to them.

Julie Click, supervisor of youth services at the Northwest Branch of the Jefferson County Library, said 34 people walked through the exhibit and 31 people viewed virtual story time.

She also said the library distributed 14 children’s kits containing a commemorative coloring ribbon and 9/11 information, and she said the kits were still available at the library.

“I was very happy with the participation of the community,” Click said. “It is important for us to organize events like this. We come to a generation of children who were not alive or who had not lived that day. I think it is important for the generation to be aware of the events of this day and what it means for our world as a whole. “

De Soto Stair Climb

Anna Wideman, a soldier of the

The rural fire protection district of De Soto, said that 50 people participated in the climb of the stairs, which took place on a set of 180 steps that stretch from the main street to the second street of the park. Bernhardt to De Soto.

She said the ascent took place between 7:46 a.m. and 9:28 a.m., which is the time between when the first plane crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers and the second. tower collapsed. Wideman said members of the

De Soto Fire Department, De Soto Rural Fire Protection District, De Soto Police and some community members took part in the climb. All participants were named after at least one firefighter who died responding to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

“With everything going on in the world, it was nice to remember how everyone came together back then,” Wideman said.

She said a similar climb took place last year but had fewer participants due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After the ascent, participants proceeded to De Soto Fire’s house on Second Street, where there is a monument depicting two pieces of metal from the World Trade Center.

Scott Scharf, captain of the

The De Soto Fire Department said a wreath donated by Cherished Memories Flowers and Gifts to De Soto was placed in front of the monument and the names of the deceased firefighters were read.

“It’s huge,” Scharf said of the event being held to mark the 20th anniversary of the attack. “I grew up in New Jersey. It hits close to home for me to be from there.

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