From New York City to Louisiana, 'Spirit of Louisiana' looking for permanent home
BATON ROUGE - Baton Rouge and New York City are more than 1,300 miles apart. But over that distance is a bond that's lasted nearly two decades and one that some hope lasts for many more.
It’s a symbol of hope, a sign of spirit, born from the ultimate tragedy.
“You know when 9-11 happened we all wanted to rush and go help, but that wasn't practical, so this truck became the hands of the Louisiana spirit,” State Fire Marshal Butch Browning said.
18 years later, the Spirit of Louisiana is set to ride off into the sunset. Now with more than 60,000 miles, it's time for it to find a permanent home.
“We got to memorialize not only 9-11, not only the 343 New York City firefighters, but the history of this truck and how it's gone back and forth between two states,” Browning said.
Soon after the Twin Towers fell, New York City was in desperate need of all sorts of fire equipment. And with that, the Spirit of Louisiana was born. Made by Ferrara fire apparatus here in Louisiana, it was the first truck delivered to the Big Apple.
“What it did in New York City what it brought to New York City was unlike anyone else did,” Browning said.
But what Louisianians didn't know was that soon enough the truck would make its return home, at a time when this state and it's people needed it most, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It would continue fighting fires in New Orleans for several years to come.
Nowadays, the Spirit spends most of its time parading around the state. But the State Fire Marshal's Office has started a campaign to build a permanent home for the truck. Browning hopes it along with other 9-11 artifacts will serve as both a reminder of the tragedy and a teaching lesson for years to come.
“It's not about a fire truck. It's about a human element, it's about selfless service, it's about humble people from Louisiana wanting to do what we can to help people,” Browning said.
To donate to the Spirit of Louisiana’s GoFundMe page, click here.
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