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Highland Lakes communities commemorate 9/11 with first responder lunches, more

Marble Falls VFW remembers 9/11

Volunteers and members of the Marble Falls Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10376 gathered on the morning of Sept. 11 to prepare boxed lunches for Highland Lakes-area first responders. Staff photo by Brigid Cooley

On the morning of Sept. 11, volunteers gathered at the Marble Falls Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10376 to prepare and deliver boxed lunches to first responders in Kingsland, Granite Shoals, and Marble Falls. Meanwhile, a group of roughly 10 people carrying American flags embarked on a 13-mile trek from Kingsland to the Marble Falls post, 1001 Veterans Ave., where they were greeted by a cheering crowd and free lunch. 

These events are examples of how Highland Lakes communities came together to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. 

After the walk, organizer Josh Shirley, a Kingsland resident and Air Force veteran, donated the flags the group carried to the VFW.

“I hope you can make use of (the flags),” Shirley told post commanders. “Seems like a good home for them. We’re planning another (walk) for Veterans Day, one for all of you.” 

First responders honored at Faith Academy game
First responders, including (from left) Burnet County Sheriff Calvin Boyd and Marble Falls Fire Rescue firefighters Tim Pierce (in the back), Jeff Beltran, Bobby Amick, and Capt. Rowan Arnold, were honored during the Faith Academy of Marble Falls football game Sept. 10. Photo by Stennis Shotts

Kathy Sonnamaker of Estes Audiology also visited the post, delivering a monetary donation that fully covered the costs of the boxed lunches. After each meal was delivered, VFW volunteers and visitors gathered inside the post canteen to share memories of where they were when they heard of the terrorist attacks that killed close to 3,000 people. 

“I’m watching the TV and I’m not believing what I’m seeing, it’s not connecting,” recounted Bill Piotrowski, the post’s service officer. “You know, ‘Is this real? Is this a movie?’” 

Over 60 first responders and residents, including Burnet County Commissioners Jim Luther and Joe Don Dockery, attended a remembrance ceremony hosted by the Marble Falls Rotary Club in Johnson Park. The ceremony was led by Marble Falls Fire Chief Russell Sander, Horseshoe Bay Assistant Fire Chief Stephanie Black, and Rotary President Lorinda Peters. 

During the ceremony, Sander led the group in ringing a firehouse bell, which symbolizes the end of an emergency and is a tradition honoring fallen firefighters. A similar ceremony featuring a bell created from pieces of the World Trade Center’s twin towers was hosted in Llano County by the Sandy Harbor Volunteer Fire Department that morning. 

First responders were also honored at the Sept. 10 Faith Academy and Marble Falls High School football games.