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Beach Fire to hold memorial benefit at Lani Kai

October 30, 2013
By BOB PETCHER ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

The Fort Myers Beach Fire Control District will be holding a special event that will collect proceeds to help make a 2014 planned memorial become a reality.

The Firemans Beach Bash will be held at the Lani Kai Island Resort on Saturday, Nov. 9, from noon to 6 p.m. The event will benefit Beach Fire's 9-11 memorial monument involving a World Trade Center artifact at Fire Station #33 at 121 Lenell Rd.

The fundraiser will have live music, games and outdoor fun at the resort at 1400 Estero Blvd. There will be a Bags on the Beach (corn hole) tournament, a side-by-side burn demonstration and 50/50 raffles as well as 9-11 memorial t-shirts on sale for the cause.

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A benefit for a 9-11 memorial monument at Fire Station #33 will be held at Lani Kai on Nov. 9. The Word Trade Center artifact that will be involved in the monument will be at the fundraising event that will involve live entertainment, games and raffles.

"A couple of our people reached out to the constituents in our community, and the Conidarises from Lani Kai graciously told us they would like to host an event," said Beach Fire Assistant Chief Tom May. "We've met with them a few times to get our plans squared away. They are helping assist us with this project."

Six live bands will play for 40-minute sets on Lani Kai's beachfront stage. In between sets, a radio disc jockey will enliven the bash and keep it festive. Beach fire fighters will be walking around to collect donations in their "Fill the Boot" method.

May said Capt. Ron Martin will give a fire and life safety demonstration to show the difference in what a live burn does with a residential sprinkler system compared to a building that does not have a fire suppression system. It is set up through the National Fire Sprinkler Coalition.

Fact Box


What: Firemans Beach Bash

When: Saturday, Nov. 9, from noon to 6 p.m.

Where: Lani Kai Island Resort

Benefit: 9-11 memorial at Fire Station #33

The event will also feature a segway obstacle course in the resort parking lot. Cost is $5 for the 5-minute activity. Other visuals will be on hand.

"We are getting an artist rendition of what the completed project will be. Hopefully, we will have that on display at the Firemans Beach Bash," said May. "Capt. (Randy) Kraus also has arranged to have the actual World Trade Center artifact on a platform with a flag in the back at the event. So people can come and see what the artifact looks like and take photos if they'd like."

Fundraising has been going strong for the creation of a lasting memorial.

"Our ultimate goal is $25,000 to $30,000," said May. "We will continue to raise funds through season."

Fort Myers-based Boulton Construction has volunteered its services to design, plan, build and help with fundraising efforts for the construction of the memorial. The District is accepting donations to financially support the project. Contact May at or 850-5715 if interested in purchasing an engraved permanent brick that will be displayed at the memorial site.

The 9-11 memorial is expected to be completed and erected at the island's south end station in February 2014, and a remembrance ceremony is slated at that location on Sept. 11, 2014. The constructed memorial will commemorate the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on our homeland and honor all the lives that were lost -the fallen victims and heroes.

Costs generated for the project will not only pay for construction of the memorial and extra phases of it, but also long-term maintenance associated with the monument once constructed.

Any and all funds over construction-related costs will go to the New York City FireFighter's & EMS Police Widows and Orphans 911 Fund.

The artifact was one of two 30"-16"-16" I-beams collected from the World Trade Center wreckage site. The historic wreckage from 9/11 was made available to first responders once Osama bin Laden was captured. The steel beams were declared artifacts in May 2011.

Kraus, a New York City native and paramedic/first responder in that city at the time of the terrorist attacks, was accompanied by White and Capt. Ronald Martin in July 2011 to pick up the pieces of World Trade Center history in the FMB Community Emergency Response Team van. The artifacts were obtained after Kraus sent a written inquiry to the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, which maintains the WTC site, and was later approved.

While one of the I-beams will be part of the monument at Fire Station #33, the other ones -cut into three pieces- can be viewed on display at the three other fire district facilities.

Beach Fire officials encourage everyone to drop by Lani Kai on Dec. 9, to help with the project.

"This will be a good event at the beach. It's for a good purpose," said May. "It's about having a good time and helping out the cause, not a somber event. It'll be upbeat and festive."



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