CRYSTAL LAKE – Thirteen years ago Joe Alger went to New York City to give what he could to help people recover from the nation’s deadliest terrorist attack.
On Monday, he headed back to New York City to take what he could to help the same cause.
Alger, the chief operating officer of JA Frate in Crystal Lake, left for New York in one of his semitrucks to retrieve a 13,000-pound steel beam that was part of the World Trade Center buildings that were attacked on Sept. 11, 2001.
Alger will bring the beam back to Zion where it will be held temporarily and people can go to view it.
He said it will eventually go to a Heroes of Freedom Memorial in Waukegan or Wauconda.
The trip to New York City was inspired by Kirk Morris, whose son died in Iraq in 2004. Alger said since meeting so many people affected by the direct and indirect consequences of Sept. 11, he has made it a mission to help preserve the memories of those who sacrificed.
“The first time I went [to New York City] I had an opportunity to help after we were so devastated,” Alger said. “Now we get to go back to help keep the memory alive. It’s just something I can do to make sure 9/11 is never forgotten and all the troops and those who gave their lives because of it.”
Alger’s truck bed will be easy to notice as multiple flags have been attached to it for the journey. Once Alger picks up the beam, he will drape a large American flag over it for the journey back.
An escort of police, Warrior’s Watch, Patriot Guard and Rolling Thunder will connect with Alger in Indiana and drive back with him to Zion where the beam will be dropped off Thursday.
“It’s extremely gratifying for me to work with these Gold Star families I have met over the years,” Alger said of those who lost family in the war. 9/11 changed everything for me and for everyone. One day a kid might see this beam and ask his parents what it means and get to hear about the sacrifices people made.”