WEST CHICAGO – When a fire engine that responded to 9/11 recently visited a West Chicago business, the owners closed for the day.
“That was a piece of history in our parking lot that most people don’t get to touch or see,” said Kent Jean, co-owner of Evo Exhibits in West Chicago.
The truck has been repurposed as a traveling museum and memorial by the Remembrance Rescue Project, a nonprofit created by firefighters to restore, preserve and share the truck and another bought by the project from the city of New York.
The project, which is based in the Chicago area, focuses on educating young people about the meaning of Sept. 11, 2001, for fire personnel and for the United States as a whole, according to the organization’s website.
The project works with fire departments across the country to host the 9/11 response trucks throughout the year. It is 100 percent operated by firefighters who volunteer their time to the project, the website states. Donations pay for fuel, maintenance and travel costs for the trucks.
After Evo Exhibits, which produces exhibits for trade shows, created displays for the project’s trucks, firefighters brought a truck to the business for a visit Aug. 13.
“They were just so thankful for what we did that they brought the truck to West Chicago,” Jean said.
Jean was awestruck when he saw the fire engine and considered the firefighters’ lives that were lost while responding at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001 using that very truck.
“It’s our duty to pay it forward and help people remember,” he said.