Representatives from AmeriCorps and the Montana Campus Compact arrived bearing gifts to personnel on duty at Missoula Rural Fire Station 1 on South Avenue on Wednesday afternoon, the 18th anniversary of 9-11.

Eli Bowe helped to present a basket of gifts and snacks to Chief Chris Newman and several of his firefighters on duty. He explained the reason for their visit.

“I am the AmeriCorps senior leader with the Campus Compact at the University of Montana,” said Bowe. “We are here today to deliver a gift basket to our local first responders at the Missoula Rural Fire department. We want to show our appreciation for all the hard work our first responders do here on 9-11, a day in which we know that many  responders gave their lives.”

Bowe said even though he was a child on September 11, 2001, he appreciates the impact of the day on first responders across the country, but especially here in Missoula.

“It makes me feel safe knowing we have these first responders here at the fire department who are willing to rush out at a moment’s notice to help people, and I feel happy to be a part of this community.”

Chief Chris Newman shared his thought about the 18th anniversary of a day that changed America and the world, from the perspective of a first responder.

“As a fire service we remember this day truly, year round,” said Chef Newman. “The day brings back a lot of bad memories from the standpoint of what happened to 343 firefighters and EMS personnel and fire service personnel, and obviously all the innocent citizens that were in the building. It’s a good day to remember those folks and the sacrifices they made, in the hopes that this will never happen again.”

Newman was gratified to see the AmeriCorps representatives in their early 20’s who were willing to come to the fire station with gifts for his firefighters.

“The hash tag Never Forget,” he said. “You wonder if that still rings true, but by seeing younger people that understand what happened even though they were only a couple of years old at the time, the fact that they are ‘never forgetting’ is pretty impressive.”