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9/11 Traveling Exhibit comes to Grand Rapids

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By Michael Julien –– Multimedia Editor

Last week the Steven Siller 9/11 traveling exhibit was at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. Between 100 and 200 people turned out for the event.

The foundation was created in memory of Siller, a firefighter who died in the line of duty on Sept. 11, 2001, during the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center. The traveling 9/11 exhibit was first opened last year as a tool to educate the American people about 9/11 and the events that occurred that day.

There are three people who run the exhibit, Toby Chambers a volunteer firefighter out of North Carolina, John Carroll a retired firefighter from the Bronx, and John Labarbera a New York City fireman.

When asked where he was on 9/11 and what his job was Caroll said, “I was a Captain for ladder 37 company out of the Bronx, NY and arrived after the towers collapsed and began the search and rescue effort.”

John Carroll was also heavily involved in the search and rescue process he said “personally it lasted several months, after that it went to shift work and he would be assigned down at ground zero once a month.”

John Labarbera also assisted in the search and rescue process.

“I was off duty at the time and after the second plane hit I knew it wasn’t an accident,” Labarbera Said

He then took his car and drove to the Trade Center to help with the. Upon arrival that afternoon John “was there for the recovery effort to try and recover guys.” He was also there for the funerals of the men every day after! as well as his normal shifts with the fire department.

Even though Chambers wasn’t involved in the search and rescue effort he was still at ground zero. “He was a volunteer with Animal Planet at the time and drove their mobile veterinary clinic to ground zero three days after the towers collapsed it was used to treat the search and rescue dogs during the search and rescue process.”

Carroll said “we just wanted to thank everybody in Grand Rapids Michigan for not forgetting 9/11 and for having this wonderful turn out showing us how they do care about the events that unfolded that day.”