9/11 Survivor’s Tree

Jefferson Twp. Fire Department gets 9/11 Survivor’s Tree

During the recovery and cleanup following the attacks at Ground Zero on 9/11, a tree was found amidst the rubble. Amazingly, it was still alive.

Damaged and scarred, it was carefully removed and taken to the New York Parks Nursery, where it was nursed back to health.

Now, 16 years later, saplings from the 9/11 Survivor’s Tree are being distributed around the country, with one of them now at the Jefferson Twp. Fire Department on SR 15. A short presentation was made by Chief Greg Swank at the station on September 11 this year, as the department prepared to plant the tree.

“For us, it’s having that connection, even being this far away, with the firefighters and law enforcement who were killed,” Swank said of having the tree here. “It’s a brotherhood and a bond, and that connection is pretty powerful.”

The timing of the offer of a Survivor’s Tree was especially poignant for the department, as the department was discussing possible memorials for Joan Simmons, a charter EMS member who passed away in January. Memorial donations were given to the department. “We had talked about a memorial for her, and this fell in line with that idea,” Swank stated.

A plaque to be placed with the tree will recognize not only the history of the tree and its connection to 9/11, but will recognize Simmons for all of her efforts with the Jefferson Twp. Fire Department.

The tree, a Callery Pear Tree, is registered with the Bartlett Tree Expert Company and includes a medallion on the tree noting its registration number, #295. A registry is kept by the company, with the location of each survivor tree distributed so far, allowing people to visit these trees around the country.