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Ottumwa firefighters reflect on 9/11

Published: Sep. 11, 2020 at 10:33 PM CDT
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OTTUMWA, Iowa (KYOU) - As we remember the lives that were lost on 9/11, we also honor those who put their lives on the line that day.

It’s a day that Americans have ingrained in their minds. Everybody remembers where they were at on the morning of September 11th, 2001.

“Well it was a few months before I started working here. It was back home on the farm I was out feeding cattle,” said Captain Ron Klein, of the Ottumwa Fire Department. “I was working at the local pig plant here in town. And our supervisor came up and told us that someone had flown a plane into the World Trade Center,” explained Ottumwa firefighter, Jerry Lemeuse.

In the midst of panic and destruction, first responders marched into the burning buildings. This is something all firefighters do on a daily basis.

"You remember back when this happened, all the EMS personnel, police, and fireman that you’ve seen that risked their life. They put their life on the line to go in an do what they do,” said fireman, Nate Wilson. “It reminds people that there are people like me out there that are willing to protect the communities that we love and live,” said Lemeuse.

And while the anniversary of that day comes once a year, the Ottumwa Fire Department says they strive to honor the sacrifice made by their brothers in New York everyday.

“It’s a brotherhood. This is a family. And those guys are a prime example. You saw them going in with their crews, their battalions, and some of them lost the entire battalion. Or lost very many of their brothers that they had known for years and years. And you know, that doesn;t ever come back,” said Wilson. “For me personally, when somebody thanks me, it really is a thankless job. But I like to remind people that there are people like me that do this. And we do this for the community and that’s why we’re here,” said Lemeuse.

Putting others first in the face of uncertainty and danger, just like their colleagues did 19 years ago.

Copyright 2020 KYOU. All rights reserved.

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