Tenn. fire dept. releases statement after 9/11 event speaker removed from program
UNION CITY, Tenn. (KFVS) - The Union City Fire Department released a statement after several reports that one of their speakers for a 9/11 event lied about his involvement with the events of 9/11.
According to the fire department, after a recent press release was sent out promoting the event, they received several reports that August Johansen was a case of stolen valor due to his false claims about involvement with the events of 9/11.
After receiving the messages, Union City Fire Chief Karl Ullrich said he called the New York Police Department Headquarters regarding Johanesen and learned Johansen’s claims were false.
Organizers removed Johansen from the Union City 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb program after the allegations were substantiated.
He said Johansen did not seek them out, nor did they seek him, it was just a coincidence.
The chief also said they plan to vet future speakers.
In a statement released on Thursday morning, September 8, Union City Fire Chief Karl Ullrich said: “We are saddened and embarrassed by this development which detracts from what is a heartfelt tribute to the firefighters lost in the attack on the World Trade Center, and a fundraiser for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, a worthy cause.”
They are trying to get past this incident, and he said they don’t want what happened to tarnish or affect the meaningful event at Discovery Park.
“We’re in a part of the country known for corn fields and not skyscrapers,” he added. “We are able to host a special 9/11 memorial at Discovery Park of America, a world-class museum and heritage park. It’s a unique opportunity for a town as small as ours, and we will continue with our plans to remember and honor our big-city brothers in New York.”
The chief said he is thankful community members, firefighters in New York and others reached out to let them know about Johansen’s false claims.
The Union City 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb will be held at Discovery Park of America on Saturday, September 10. The opening ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. and will feature the Presentation of the Colors, National Anthem and an opening prayer.
The climb will begin at 10 a.m.
Climbers will ascend the 11-story tower at Discovery Park 10 times in full gear to simulate the effort required of FDNY firefighters in the World Trade Center towers.
According to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, each climber’s tribute not only remembers the sacrifice of an FDNY firefighter, but “symbolically completes their heroic journey to save others.”
Now in its fourth year, the Union City Stair Climb is a fundraiser to benefit the foundation and is sanctioned by that organization.
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