Piece of Trade Center Steel Headed to Hartwell

By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia

A piece of the steel from the World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001 will be in Hartwell on Saturday.

It’s part of a fundraiser to help build handicap-accessible smart homes for soldiers injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The fundraiser is the idea of Corporal Todd Love of Acworth, Georgia, who lost both legs and one arm while serving in Afghanistan.

Love was one of the first to receive a smart home from the Gary Sinise Foundation and now wants to pay it forward by raising money to pay for other smart homes.

Kay Wilbanks rides with the Georgia Patriot Guard Riders and says the steel will be transported via a motorcycle convoy from Commerce to the Hartwell Fire station.

Wilbanks said the goal is to get the steel piece back to Ground Zero in New York.

“He decided that since he had so much support from the biker community, he decided he wanted to do something with the biker community,” Wilbanks said. “What he’s doing is going from fire house to fire house all the way to New York.”

Wilbanks said the steel is on loan to Love from the Tunnel to Towers Foundation in New York, which was established by the family of a New York firefighter who died in a World Trade Center tower on 9/11.

She went on to say that any biker who wants to join in the ride is welcome to do so.

“Just show up in Commerce at the fire department and if you can’t ride and you want to drive your car, you are welcome to do that. Or if you just want to meet Todd, I highly encourage that. You will walk away a different person,” she said.

Bikers who wish may continue on the next leg of the ride or ride all the way up to New York.

The longest distance on any ride is roughly 70 miles, according to Wilbanks.

The cost per motorcycle is $25.

Wilbanks said people not riding but who want to show their support for the fundraiser are also encouraged to come to the Commerce or Hartwell fire stations.

“We’re leaving Commerce at noon and taking the back roads to Hartwell,” she said. “Anybody who wants to just stand on the side of the road and wave a flag to show their support, we would love that. And anybody that just wants to come down to the Hartwell fire station to show their support, that would be fantastic.”

For more information, contact Wilbanks at 706-498-1328.