Section 3

Section 3: Donation of Memorial Design, Structural Engineering & Landscaping Design

Having had the WTC metal and the Pentagon stone, however, was only the beginning of the journey to creation of the Monument. There still remained two huge hurdles, getting Town approval for the removal of the tree at the proposed Memorial site (the Town having previously blocked removal of the tree for a proposed expansion of the firehouse); and second, somehow finding funding or donation for design and construction of the Memorial.

As to the hurdle of removal of the “tree”, Semler proposed to the Town Mayor that the Town could “keep the tree, or have a monument of national importance built in its place that would draw people to Kensington.” The Mayor, quickly grasping the importance to the Town of the creation of such a Monument of national import, promptly offered support including ailowing removal of the tree. That left the not insignificant issue of funding or donations to obtain professional engineering design and construction of the Memorial.

The first big break, both financial and to assure creation of a world-class Memorial – was achieved by Committee member/ KVFD Chaplain (and former KVFD Deputy Fire Chief) F.Tom Claxton, who secured commitments from a national engineering design firm (Greenhorne & O’Mara and a noted landscape designer (Ralph D’Amato), which agreed to donate engineering design and landscaping services for the creation of the Monument. Their joint design concept is framed in the KVFD Sta. 5 day room. However, KVFD still needed construction service and expensive materials (lighting, concrete, stonework, etc.). The big break for that quickly came after Semler gave an interview about the desired project to the local Gazette newspaper, noting that KVFD was looking for donation of the materials and labor from the construction community to “make it all come together”.

Our prayers were answered the next day, when a public-spirited citizen – local commercial construction general contractor Steve Heidenberger, of Kensington’s Heidenberger Construction Inc. — having been moved by reading this newspaper story of this desired project, offered his Company’s services – on a donated basis — as general contractor for the project, further offering to tap into his years of good will in the industry, for donation of expensive ground preparation, electrical, concrete, bricks, stone, granite, lettering, fencing, pedestals, materials and labor. Heidenberger relentlessly pursued his contacts to get this material and labor donated and installed, and placed a job superintendent of his on the job site for months to coordinate the multi-faceted construction job. Piece by piece, Steve Heidenberger made it ail happen. Not well known was the fact that Steve Heidenberger lost a beloved sister-in-law in the Pentagon crash of 9/11, and supported creation of the Monument to commemorate the loss of all persons lost in the WTC, Pentagon, and Shanksville, PA tragedies of 9/11.

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