Chance to remember, support 9/11 heroes rolls into town,'Patch Project' tour bus makes stop in Elsmere

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For Craig and Pam Freeman, what they saw at the Elsmere Fire CompanySunday afternoon was a replay of what he and his wife have seen in their tour across the country raising money for the 9/11 Patch Project.

Host firefighters were eager to make donations and help them set up their station where residents stopped by to give money, buy raffle tickets or share personal stories.

"No matter where you go, everyone has a story about 9/11. They walk up and tell you what they were doing, where they were and how it has affected them. It has been very interesting," said Pam Freeman.

Craig is a volunteer tour director for the 9/11 Patch Project. For the past two years, he and his wife have driven across the country in a bus, stopping at hundreds of fire stations for fundraisers. All of the money they collect will be given to the FDNY Bravest Scholarship Fund, the Terry Farrell Fund and the Feal Good Foundation on or around Sept. 11 in Manhattan.

"We're going from Manhattan to Manhattan," Craig Freeman said. "We started in Manhattan Beach, California, and we're going to Manhattan in New York."

The Freemans started their bus tour in January and have made stops in Nevada, Arizona, Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Missouri and a slew of other states. The current leg of their tour will be along the East Coast until they head to New York City in late August and early September for the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. They have raffled off 10-year anniversary flags, sold music CDs, pins, patches, decals and other trinkets.

"I put 10,000 miles on this bus so far to get here. This is the 10-year anniversary and this effort will continue," Craig Freeman said. "This brings all Americans together. United as Americans, we can accomplish anything."

John J. White walked two blocks from his home in Elsmere to buy a raffle ticket and show support. His uncle and father were both firemen.

"I think this is a good thing. You may as well help somebody out when you can if you have the extra money to do it," White said. "You have to support people and respect firefighters and the work they do. They are out here trying to save lives."

Tara Tucker from Elsmere walked up to the booth with a $20 bill. She bought several raffle tickets and a sticker.

"My dad was a firefighter for more than 30 years," she said.

"I like what they are doing because you remember what happened and you learned about fire careers. It's not an easy job," she said. "It's hard work."

To donate or learn about the project, visit www.9-11patch

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