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franklin county times

Meridian firefighters on their way to New York City

By Staff
ALL ABOARD WTOK's John Johnson, left, waves good-bye to firefighter Gerald Mabry, center, and Meridian Fire Chief Bunky Partridge and his wife, Dianne, as they board the Amtrak headed for New York City. Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
Editor's note: Staff writer Marianne Todd is accompanying a group of local firefighters that departed Union Station Friday bound for New York. The group will deliver donations from the people of Meridian to the families of fallen New York City firefighters. Look for her reports from Ground Zero over the next several days.
By Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
Nov. 3, 2001
For the first time in his career as a firefighter, Gerald Mabry has a chance to think about what might happen.
Mabry is nervous and a bit afraid of what he might feel when he views Ground Zero on Sunday. The Meridian firefighter, along with Fire Chief Bunky Partridge and firefighter Jimmy Hoffer, left for New York on Friday to bring nearly $25,000 in donations from Meridian residents to the families of fallen New York firefighters.
New York is not that far away
Donations, both in money and in gifts, have poured into the Meridian Fire Department since firefighters announced their dedication to helping the families of fallen firefighters.
They will present New York's firefighters with the gifts from Meridian Sunday, at a ceremony at Ground Zero. The gifts include a flag made with hand prints by students at West Lauderdale Elementary School, hundreds of work gloves from Rush Foundation Hospital and nearly $25,000 in donations from Meridian's residents.
Partridge said the local chapter of the Harley Davidson Association has vowed $9,000 in support to the families of the firefighters. He said he is touched by Meridian's generous spirit.
They were there
when the towers fell
Partridge said the team plans to visit Rescue 1, a fire station that lost two crews when the World Trade Center's twin towers collapsed on Sept. 11.
Battalion Chief Howard Gibson will man the station while the other firefighters are gone.
Marianne Todd is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3236, or e-mail her at mtodd@themeridianstar.com.