They’ll be the big needle in the haystack.
Somewhere in a 15-mile stretch of motorcycles will be a white ladder truck—Engine 511 from the Susquehanna Hose Company’s No. 1 fire house. As some 1,800 motorcycles come thundering up Interstate 95 Saturday morning, Havre de Grace will be well represented.
Havre de Grace is sending a truck, a chief’s vehicle, and eight members of its volunteer fire department in today’s leg of the 9/11 Memorial Ride, which began in Pennsylvania Thursday, stopped at the Pentagon last night into this morning, and is en route to Ground Zero in New York City today.
The Hose Company is joining the route at the Maryland House when the thundering parade stops for refueling.
“It’s certainly an honor. This is our third or fourth year doing it,” Susquehanna Hose Company Chief Scott Hurst said.
Capt. Ron Cardwell, Lt. Nathan Sampson, and firefighters Jimbo Sampson, Chad Packard, Josh Welsh, Jamie Gomez, Rob Hess and Mike Forgey are New York-bound.
Hurst said its simply a continuation of the commitment his volunteers have shown since the very get-go.
“Initially they wanted each company to do one overpass,” he said of the organizers behind the ride. “We have four overpasses in the area. I emailed my guys and the response was overwhelming.”
Hurst said organizers came to a company meeting to present the Hose Company with a plaque for its efforts in supporting the event.
Hurst, who will be stationed on the overpass that carries MD Rt. 155 over I-95, said the organization provided hotel rooms and offered to pay for fuel, but the Hose Company will pay for fuel on the ride up.
After passing through Havre de Grace between approximately 9:30 to 10 a.m., they’re likely to make at least one stop, which Hurst said will be a good time for a fire drill of sorts—with passengers from the fire truck switching with those in the chief’s vehicle. Hurst said fire trucks weren’t made for the comfort sought in long-distance travel.
Even for those who aren’t among the eight riding in the event, members of the Hose Company—and residents, too—will feel the emotion of the gathering by simply taking it in from one of the overpasses above I-95.
“Watching the bikers ride underneath of you, you can tell how appreciative they are. It’s quite a long ride for them. I’m sure it helps them get through the ride, too. It’s quite a sight. It’s hard to explain unless you see it. It makes the hair on your arms stand up.”
Editor's Note: The name of firefighter Rob Hess was misspelled in an earlier version of this story. Patch regrets the error.