A memorial for firefighters in New York City that was supposed to take place next week has been postponed indefinitely to give the workers more time to recover bodies at the World Trade Centre site.
A group of Whistler firefighters that were planning to fly to New York to show their support along with approximately 600 other firefighters from the Greater Vancouver Regional District were among the thousands of firefighters from across North America and around the world who postponed going to New York until such a time that the memorial can be held.
"The World Trade Center is just devastated," says Stephen Doyle, a full-time member of the Whistler Fire Department and president of the local branch of firefighters union, which is footing the bill for the trip. "The firefighters there wanted more time to get a little more done. Theyre putting in a full day at work, and then heading straight to the site to work another full day. Theyre still having funeral services. It was just too early for them."
Originally five members of the local fire department were going to attend the service, and Doyle hopes to send a minimum of two staff to the rescheduled memorial.
"Everyone on the force wanted to go and show their support, but were a small local and unfortunately we dont have enough money to send everybody," says Doyle. "Our mission is to provide moral support for the guys who are working, and pay our respects like we would for a member of the family."
The municipality has kicked in some money for the trip, and the union is looking into making a deal with an airline for discounts on flights that would enable more representatives from Whistler to go to New York, if not for the memorial, then at least to take part in funeral services.
The Whistler firefighters wont be going to New York empty-handed. The Whistler Fire Department has already raised $5,000 for the victims and their families during their Other Firemans Ball, and they are still accepting donations at the station. All contributions $20 and over are tax-deductable.