Tuesday marks the 11th anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attacks and a special dedication and unveiling is planned in central Iowa. The widow of the only one Iowa resident killed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York has helped lead a fundraising drive for a bronze sculpture in Newton.
Jean Cleere says several firefighters died alongside her husband Jim. “There were about four who were actually with him, stayed with him and died with him trying to save him,” Cleere said.
Jim Cleere was 55 when he died. The Newton resident was in New York on business as the assistant vice president of telecommunications for Seebury and Smith of Des Moines.
For the past three-and-a-half years, Jean Cleere has been raising funds for the monument in Newton by selling bricks that will surround the base of the sculpture. “This tribute was very special for me…to be able to buy a brick in the name and honor of those firefighters in New York City,” Cleere said.
The sculpture created by Reasnor artist Nick Klepinger depicts two firefighters rescuing a child. The bricks surrounding the sculpture are engraved with names selected by the individual who purchased each brick. The unveiling and dedication of the sculptured is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday outside the Newton Fire Station.
By Randy Van, KCOB, Newton