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Area fire companies receive grants | News, Sports, Jobs

The Central Pennsylvania 9/11 20th Anniversary Committee presented grants to 15 Blair County fire companies during a ceremony Dec. 10 at the Greenwood Fire Department. The grants fulfilled a promise the committee made in 2021 as part of the local 20th anniversary observance of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville.

The committee, under the leadership of Altoona businessman Duane Bordell, hosted a community event at Altoona’s Jaffa Shrine that highlighted faith, patriotism and civic pride.

The program, which featured nationally-recognized speakers and musicians, included a remembrance of the lives lost on 9/11 and a recognition of local emergency responders, medical personnel, military members, and clergy/religious leaders.

“Thanks to the generous response from the community, the committee found itself in a position to offer its continued support to our local heroes beyond the event in 2021,” said Tony DeGol, a member of the 9/11 20th Anniversary Committee. “Recently, the committee invited all Blair County fire departments to apply for grants to assist them with equipment costs or other operational expenses.”

Grants of $500 each were presented by Bordell to the Altoona Fire Department as well as the Blue Knob, Claysburg, Duncansville, Excelsior, Freedom Township, Friendship, Geeseytown, Greenwood, Lakemont, Logan Township, Neptune, Newburg, Pinecroft and Williamsburg fire companies.

“We live in a world that loves to celebrate heroes, and we often look for them in places like NFL stadiums or in Hollywood movies,” DeGol said during the check presentations. “The truth is, we here in Blair County can find our most cherished heroes much closer to home. The brave and dedicated emergency responders who put their lives on the line every time they go to work are worthy of our respect, admiration and gratitude — not just during this season of giving, but every day of the year.”

In the near future, the 9/11 20th Anniversary Committee will extend the opportunity for more emergency responders and others to apply for grants.

The committee also announced that a community observance of the 25th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks will be held in 2026.

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