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Rochelle Park will host a 9/11 memorial at 7 p.m. on Sept. 11 when a monument that includes a piece of metal from the World Trade Center will be dedicated to the memory of two local people who lost their lives that fateful day 12 years ago.
One of those victims was the Rev. Mychal Judge who was assigned to Sacred Heart Parish in Rochelle Park. The FDNY chaplain was a Roman Catholic priest of the Franciscan order who was reportedly the first certified death at the World Trade Center. The son of Irish immigrants, Judge had a twin sister, Dympna, and an older sister, Erin.
The second local victim was New York Firefighter Richard “Bruce” Van Hine of Squad 41 in the South Bronx. The Rochelle Park native was 48 years old on Sept. 11, 2001 when he was taken away from his wife of 21 years, Ann, and his daughters, Meghan, 14, and Emily, 17. He was one of six firefighters killed in the World Trade Center assigned to Squad 41.
The piece of the World Trade Center was acquired for Rochelle Park three years ago through the efforts of Rochelle Park resident Rich Cravello, who worked for the Port Authority. Cravello, whose wife, Teresa, was related to Judge, approached Mayor Frank Valenzuela in 2010 with the idea, and the township made a formal request for the metal. The request was granted, and a local committee was formed to design the monument, generate funding and find a proper site.
The committee organized 50/50 raffles and a 9/11 memorial blanket sale as well as various other fundraisers. The Rochelle Park Fire Department’s boot drive also boosted the fund, which was augmented by a $10,000 gift from ShopRite of Rochelle Park. Other major donors included residents Linda and Jeffery Rivera, Silverstone Property Group, Community Bank of Rochelle, VFW Post 3484 and American Legion Post 170. In all, $30,000 was generated through donations and fundraisers.
The committee selected the area outside Midland School as the monument’s home, and, for the past three months, Bergen Landscaping has worked pro bono to install it. In the months leading up to the formal unveiling of the monument, the steel, alongside an American flag, had been kept in the committee meeting room at township hall and was available for public viewing.
“I am extremely proud that Rochelle Park will have a proper memorial monument to those former residents and for all that were lost on that tragic day,” said Valenzuela.
In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held at the American Legion, 33 W. Passaic St., at 7 p.m. with a formal memorial dedication at Memorial Park on Rochelle Avenue outside Midland School on Sunday, Sept. 15 at 9:30 a.m.