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An Oskaloosa Man Relives Ground Zero after the 9/11 Attacks

By Jefferson Tyler, Multimedia Journalist

OSKALOOSA, IA (KYOU) – The 9-11 terror attacks left lasting impressions with many Americans able to recall where they were on that day, 15 years ago. One Oskaloosa businessman remembers the day too, and the role his company played in the recovery.

“This is a piece of steel from the world trade center. For the port authority police department badge 37, World Trade Center. A friend of bobby Wilson cut up these.”
Joe Crookham remembers the tragedy of 9-11 like it was just yesterday. “It was just a war zone. And just a lot of people trying to work and deal with all the challenges that were there. In a situation that was very dangerous.”
Crookham’s company Musco provided lamp trucks for all 3 sites hit by the 9-11 attacks, and the Oklahoma City bombing years earlier.
“This FEMA guy said, you will be here until we’re done won’t you.”
Originally, not welcome at Ground Zero
“We waited until dark. Turned on the lights and then they saw they did need us to be there. So they sent us over to west side highway to try to get down to ground zero.”
Musco eventually lit the way for Search and Rescue Teams to work throughout the night.
“I said did you ever get breakfast that day. And he said no, as a matter of fact we didn’t eat again until Saturday night.”
Providing the light needed to save lives.
“One of our guys went into the Pentagon, and actually helped with the search work inside the Pentagon.”
Sometimes at their own risk.
“Just as I was walking around. A piece of plate glass came crashing to the ground from the building it was around. And I was thankful that I didn’t take the shortcut to cross across there.”
The experience has left a lasting impression on Crookham and his company, forever.
“This event was an opportunity to find out that a large majority care, and will do what’s right. Where but in America could you assemble this something like this in a few days. Equipment, food, restrooms.”

Crookham says Musco lighting volunteered to send lights to the Oklahoma City bombing, and 9-11 sites. And that they stayed to the end of the clean-up.

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