The progress on a memorial in Borger honoring the victims of Sept. 11, 2001, is continuing to move along.
Bob Tiffany, who has played a major role in bringing the memorial to the city, spoke to the Rotary Club Tuesday about current developments with the memorial.
Tiffany has been in Borger since 1975 and is retired from Chevron Phillips. He went to work for Phillips Petroleum Company at the Copolymer Plant back in 1977. While working for Chevron Phillips, he was a member of the Emergency Response Team and formed an honor guard through his work with the team.
“We got together and tried to present the colors and do patriotic programs, recognizing those who have lost their lives,” he said.
After Tiffany retired, he played a part in forming the Joint Force Honor Guard of which he is now a member. He said the sheriff's department, fire department, and police department do not have enough members to form an honor guard, so they joined forces.
In doing so, he said he began receiving emails about different opportunities and programs that were available.
In August of 2009, he received an email saying that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was open to requests from organizations that wanted to request a piece of World Trade Center steel that was recovered from the site where the events of 9/11/01 took place for the use of constructing a memorial to remember the events of that fateful day.
Tiffany said it was his thought that a memorial would pay tribute to the men and women whose lives were lost that day, would inform younger generations about the events of that day, and would serve as a reminder to everyone not to forget that day.
He contacted Borger Fire Chief Bob Watson, Borger Police Chief Jimmy Adams, and Hutchinson County Sheriff Guy Rowh to let them know the steel was available and his intent to build a memorial. All of the officials were in agreement with him, and soon Hutchinson County Judge Faye Blanks joined the effort.
Plans were initially in place for a modest memorial design, and Tiffany sent a request to the Borger City Council through Chief Watson to request the steel, and the council agreed and helped in the securing of a location for the memorial. The memorial will be placed in Huber Park north of the bird sanctuary and just north of the flag pole.
Clay Renick was hired to sketch a drawing of what the memorial would look like. The memorial has evolved tremendously since that time, Tiffany said, since many suggestions have been offered.
He said the Port Authority was not prepared for the number of requests it received, with 900 departments requesting the steel for memorials. The Port Authority had planned to issue pieces of steel 18 to 24 inches long to each department. However, Tiffany said the vision for the memorial in Borger was two pieces of steel that were each four feet long.
After 18 months of jumping through government hoops, he said Chief Watson was granted the steel, and with the help of George and Chris Pierce of Hot Shot Trucking, the steel arrived in Borger on May 11, 2011. Tiffany said the people in Borger came out in force to see the steel arrive in town.
“It was an emotional day for me at that time, relief that finally after 18 months of work, the pieces of steel were finally here, and I was also anticipating what it would take to complete the memorial by Sept. 11 of this year, the 10th anniversary,” Tiffany said.
He said Carder Engineering is working on drawings for construction, the City of Borger is ready to start work on pad construction, and Zachry Construction is holding the steel until construction gets underway.
Tiffany said that fund raising is currently taking place, with hopes of $5,000 being raised to purchase five pieces of granite that will have the history of all the events that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001 placed on it.
The steel was larger than first anticipated, he said. Each piece is six feet long by 34 inches wide and 15 inches deep. Each piece weighs 1,290 pounds and is exactly like it was when it was taken from Ground Zero.
Plans are underway for a memorial service to be held at the site of the new memorial on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011, and Tiffany said he hopes the community will attend.
In the original drawing, he said the plan was to place the pieces of steel on a pedestal and it was going to be approximately 30 inches high where children would be able to view it easily. However, the larger pieces of steel made such a model unstable.
A model of the Pentagon will be placed on the ground and the pieces of steel will rise about 10 feet above the ground. He said it should still be a monument that will garner the interest of young people that visit it.
After the drawings are completed, Tiffany said construction on the new memorial should start within a couple of weeks. He said he is ready to get construction underway, as the anniversary of 9/11 is drawing closer.
“I think it's going to be something that Borger will be proud of,” he said.