Firefighters and their fire trucks in 16 eastern Iowa communities will take part in what they’re calling a “Circle of Unity” relay today. The first fire truck will take a symbolic flag and helmet along a pre-arranged route and will pass it off to another truck from another city. Blue Grass Fire Chief Larry Guy came up with the idea to honor their fallen New York comrades. He says everyone realized after 9-11 the unity in the fire service.Chief Guy says the original plan called for each leg of the relay to involve just one fire truck, but some firefighters have expressed an interest in driving the entire route. Guy says there may be up to 16 trucks in the relay when it ends in Walcott. Maysville Fire Chief Scott Roenfeldt says fire departments always help each other out, working toward the common goal of saving lives and putting out flames.When the World Trade Center towers fell, 343 firefighters were killed, the greatest loss of firefighters’ lives in history. Chief Roenfeldt says it makes him shudder as he recalls a big event that called his department and many others out in a similar show of mutual aid at the old Caterpiller plant in Davenport. He says they had around 200 people on the scene, and it would have been devastating to lose that many men.The route for the relay is Walcott, Blue Grass, Buffalo, Davenport, Bettendorf, Riverdale, LeClaire, Princeton, McCausland, Long Grove, Eldridge, Donahue, Maysville, Dixon, New Liberty, Durant and back to Walcott. Chief Guy says the firefighters will use their emergency lights but will not exceed the speed limit. The relay will take place in early evening.
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