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Flag dedication marks 9/11 at new Bethel Volunteer Fire Department station

Bethel volunteer firefighters dedicated a flag Sept. 11 they raised only halfway up the pole in homage to past and continued service commitment.

Woodmen of the World gave the flag to Bethel Volunteer Fire Department for its new station at S.C. 557 and Oakridge Road. Dozens of Bethel and neighboring firefighters gathered for the event that doubled as a 9/11 remembrance.

State Rep. Tommy Pope said Sept. 11 is a reminder of first responders lost, but this and other communities should be grateful for the daily service of firefighters, law enforcement and others.

“We need to honor them every day,” Pope said.

James Slough, member of the fire tax board that helped with funding for the new station, recalled being in a Charlotte office building on Sept. 11, 2001. He recalls the first World Trade Center tower falling in New York City.

“We dropped our heads, because we knew we’d lost brothers and sisters,” Slough said.

Don Molineu, state manager for Woodmen of the World, shared his story visiting the Pennsylvania field where one plane crashed that day. Molineu remembered a sign coming in reading, “don’t almost give.” He related those words to the service of local firefighters, imploring them not to “almost” serve their community when a need arises.

“The lesson I learned from that day is, don’t almost give,” Molineu said.

The flag dedication gave neighboring units an opportunity to see the new station beside Bethel’s oldest firehouse. The $2 million new construction is complete, but trucks have not been moved into the new facility. Move in day is close, said Chief Michael Laws.

“We’ve got a little cosmetic work, but we plan to be in soon,” he said.

Lewis Quinn has been part of every new building and flag raising event in the department’s history. One of three original members at the dedication ceremony, Quinn said he’s excited to see how well the larger station will serve the Bethel area.

“This community has really changed, and for the better,” Quinn said. “We want to be a part of that continuing.”