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Bradenton,  FL
Wednesday,  July 10
click photo to enlarge
From: Ft Lauderdale FL
Total Distance: 227 miles
Estimated Total Time: 4 hours

Cedar Hammock FD
5200 26th St W

Randall Stulce, Fire Chief
David Quaderer, Division Chief
Leigh Hollins, Battalion Chief
Charles Benenati, Lieutenant
Robert Austin, Inspector

In the three days we had at home, we had 1 more section of the banner made for the week ahead. We now had definitive plans to take the banner to several locations in FL, and to travel all of America with it. We had no time to delay, if we were going to make it to NYC on September 11, 2002 for the 1 year memorial anniversary.

Paige kept her day job going, and continued helping by advancing tour information from home base. I went ahead alone. I quickly sketched out a reasonable route that should work, and knowing there was very little margin for any set backs that may occur. From here on we would have to constantly be aware of our time, and place.

I had met the cedar Hammock FD on a previous visit to the area about a month earlier. I now contacted them about bringing the banner to share with them. They had responded enthusiastically, and arranged for a public presentation of the project at an area mall. After this event, I really new how special the banner was going to be to the FD and how much more we could count on them for help, and support everywhere we would go.

DeSoto Square Mall

The FD parked a couple of Fire Trucks parked out front of the mall entrance, and the banner was displayed inside with full representation by the firefighters. They were great with handing out information, and talking with people about the significance of the banner.

I was also very pleased to see the reactions from the younger kids that generally hang out at the mall. They seemed very emotional and expressive in writing their messages, and a few even did some excellent drawings.

It was Rahika Nance’s first journalist assignment to cover the banner project this day. She told me it was handed to her at the last moment that afternoon, and was not prepared. I found out later her story was picked up, and syndicated across the national AP news wire. I was so happy for her, and that the banner had a positive effect on people. And would continue to have throughout the tour in many ways we could never anticipate.

Dean McDermott, Journalist

Bradenton Herald
Rahkia Nance, Reporter
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