Answering the Call

By: Natalie Swaby
By: Natalie Swaby

The haunting images linger for Captain Bob Shaffer.

"I personally worked with 62 firefighters who were killed that day, and it is always on your mind," says Shaffer. "They were the best of the best, and they are a reflection on what firefighting is."

"My dad died the October after that so it was hard. It was very hard. I was going to funeral after funeral," tells fellow firefighter, Terry Nolan.

With the four year anniversary just days away, the two New York City firefighters met in Middleton at a tribute originally designed to raise money for families affected by 9/11, but now the focus is on Gulf Coast.

"The immediate victims that need it now are in New Orleans," says Nolan.

"A firefighter who was coming out here today couldn't come, he is on a FEMA team. He is down in Mississippi helping out," Shaffer explains.

And in Fitchburg, two firefighters are putting their duties aside for a month, so they too can help hurricane victims.

Firefighter Dale Struckmeyer says, "we are not really sure what we are getting into, we've been watching the news like everybody else."

The Fitchburg firefighter could be dousing flames or helping families hurt by the high waters.

"The biggest thing is treating relatives and everybody with as much respect and dignity as you can," he says.

Struckmeyer will leave Thursday morning to join the hundreds that have rushed in to help.

"Firefighters from all over the world came and helped us, so I think it is our duty now to come and help them in some way," says Shaffer.

At the Fitchburg station, four more firefighters are on stand by to help, and neighboring departments are also prepared to send firefighters.

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