For the first time since the Winnebago County 9/11 Emergency Responders Memorial was established three new names will be added. It will now include two men and a woman who died trying to reach a crash victim.
The REACT helicopter crew died this winter after flying to an accident. Now their names will join 22 other Winnebago County first responders killed in the line of duty.
Rockford Memorial Hospital REACT flight nurses Jim Dillow and Karen Hollis along with pilot Andy Olesen died trying to reach a crash victim in Lee County December 10, 2012.
"If you would know Jim and Karen and Andy they would be the ones that really didn't want any recognition. They were really the true heroes and responders who were always caring about other people, always putting other people first," says Ron Meadors, Rockford Health System, REACT program director and EMS manager.
They will now be remembered on the Winnebago County 9/11 Emergency Responders Memorial. It will include a piece of steel from the twin towers. That tribute has not yet been built. The county is still raising money for it. So far they have only raised about $150,000. They want to raise $911,000. The memorial will honor all first responders including police, firefighters and paramedics.
"They put their life on the line to do what other people think are unimaginable to do and that's to be there in their worst times and respond when needed," says Meadors.
"The helicopter program is special in itself because we have several fire and police agencies in the county but we only have got two helicopter programs and REACT is one of them. They experienced something we hope nobody has to experience," says Will Pederson Winnebago County 9/11 Emergency Responders Memorial board president.
The 9/11 memorial committee plans to do 3 fundraisers this summer. The first is July 11th at the Prairie Street Brewhouse during Dinner on the Dock. It will be inside and called "Party on the Rock." The even will go from 5-10 p.m. and tickets will cost $20. The evening will end with fireworks. The second event is August 25 and is called the 9/11 Peak Sports Challenge. It includes a 15k individual run and a 5k team challenge run. To register for it you can go to www.win911.org. The third event a Hog Run at Kegal Harley Davidson on September 14th. It will be $20 to ride and the first bike leaves at 10:30 a.m. For more information on any events call Will Pederson at 815-997-3939 or go online to www.win911.org.