Firefighters' Notebook: Fire Department’s 9/11 Memorial Forged from Twin Towers

Twin Tower Memorial Featured

A 9/11 memorial outside the Greenville Fire Department made from salvaged steel from the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center symbolizes community strength, resilience in adversity and the unwavering commitment of firefighters who serve our country.

A Firefighter Reflects on His Career and the Importance of Community

Chad Miller is a proud Greenville native. For over 45 years, he has witnessed the transformation of his hometown from a small farming community to the thriving area it is today. Through all its changes, one constant has remained: the strong sense of unity and support among its residents.

While working on a farm in his younger years, he responded to calls with the farmers he worked alongside. "In our small community, a lot of guys always chipped in, whether they were firefighters or not,” said Chad. “Support was always there, no matter what."

When Chad secured a position as a pump mechanic at Pierce Manufacturing over two decades ago, he knew Greenville was always going to be his home. It was then he decided to extend his commitment to the community by applying to the Greenville Fire Department, where he was promptly accepted.

Fast forward to today, Chad is now the director of customer support at Pierce while also fulfilling his duties as a dedicated Greenville firefighter. 

Chad and Joe InsetChad Miller (right), a Greenville firefighter and pump mechanic at Pierce Manufacturing, stands alongside retired FDNY Lieutenant Joe Torrillo during the 9/11 memorial's dedication. Torrillo, who survived being buried alive twice on September 11, 2001, is now an inspirational public speaker.

Coming Together After Tragedy 

In 2011, the Greenville Fire Department learned of the Port Authority of NY/NJ World Trade Center Artifacts Program. The program began in 2010 to solicit proposals for WTC steel to be used in public displays to honor those who have fallen in the 9/11 tragedy.   

“A few of the Greenville first responders sent in a letter expressing how our department would be honored to obtain an artifact,” said Chad. “We wanted to create a memorial that remembers those we lost in the 2001 attack while also highlighting the solidarity among firefighters nationwide.”

Greenville was granted two structural beams recovered from the wreckage, both about 13 feet in length and 2700 lbs. each. The fire department collaborated with Fox Valley Technical College to design and engineer the memorial. The result is a beautiful monument featuring the steel pieces and a waterfall that symbolizes the current Ground Zero memorial in New York City.

Twin Tower Memorial InsetThe memorial also includes a Pentagon as a reminder of American Airlines Flight 77. When you stand in the center of the Pentagon and look between the two towers, it’s the exact longitude and latitude of where the towers stood in New York City. 

Every year, on 9/11, Greenville's community gathers at the memorial for a ceremony. "It's important for us to remember," said Chad. "It’s never an over-the-top event, but we want to ensure that the memory of the day lives on, and we invite the community to join us in honoring it."

As a dedicated firefighter and Pierce employee, Chad is thankful that at work and at the station, support is never far from reach.