Fire truck from Sept. 11 is headed to the Motts Military Museum
The Motts Military Museum will add another artifact from 9/11 to its collection late last week with the expected delivery late last week of a 41-foot hook and ladder fire engine that had been at the base of the fallen World Trade Center towers.
Groveport police and fire department personnel, along with the Patriot Guard motorcycle organization, were scheduled to escort the engine to its final destination at the museum.
Museum founding director Warren Motts said this first-responder vehicle will be the last piece the museum will receive from New York City's "Hanger 17," the building currently housing artifacts from the trade center attacks that were not scrapped.
Currently, the Motts Military Museum claims to have the largest collection of 9/11 artifacts outside of New York.
"We're still trying to get anything we can from Flight 93," Motts said. "I haven't found any artifacts from that yet, but I'd like it represented as well.
"We have a port authority police vehicle and an undercover police car -- both were at the base of the trade center -- as well as a 17-foot section of the north tower's antennae, a directional sign and staircase section, as well as building materials."
Motts said he has artifacts from the Pentagon attacks as well.
Gathering this collection hasn't been easy, however, and Motts credits U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Columbus) with helping the museum gain access to the pieces.
"It started eight months ago to make this happen," Motts said. "I was at ground zero and was getting nowhere, so then I contacted Stivers and he knew about us and what we were all about and was able to give us the credibility needed. After that, I was invited to Hanger 17 and was told to take a look at everything and let them know what pieces I want."
According to Motts, most museums have been limited to one or two artifacts, so Stivers' contacts really paid off for the local collection.
"These artifacts are so special they need to be in their own building," Motts said. "We're in the process of designing a building specifically to house these pieces which will be tall enough to allow them to be placed upright and displayed honorably."
Donations have been crucial to the effort to build the museum's memorial to 9/11.
"My architects donated their time to design the new building, Building Systems Transportation donated the trucking services and Rusty's Towing has donated several days' worth of labor, carefully unloading these pieces from the trailers," Motts said. "We're working on securing funding to build the new building, so we're looking for donors for that as well."
Motts said the estimated cost of the building will be $500,000.
"These items will be part of a permanent collection and need to be available to be viewed by everyone, especially for school kids who weren't even born when 9/11 happened," he said. "This was an event like Pearl Harbor, an attack on our soil, and we need to make sure we never forget the people that died that day and the soldiers that have died since then, defending our freedom."
Beyond financial donations, Motts said he continues to reach out to Ohio's first-responders who took part in clean-up efforts at the three attack sites.
"If any first-responders have artifacts to contribute, I'm always interested. We're a 501C3 organization so any contribution is tax-deductible," Motts said.
For more information about the museum, visit mottsmilitarymuseum.org.