SCHERERVILLE | Schererville Fire Chief Joseph Kruzan choked up Wednesday morning as a beam from a World Trade Center tower was mounted at the town's 9/11 memorial site.
Kruzan said Schererville's 9/11 memorial committee has been waiting two years to put the section of bent steel in place.
"That day is finally here," Kruzan said.
The beam had been secured at the Schererville Police Department since the town received it from the Port Authority of New York in 2011.
The placement of the beam is part of the first phase of the 9/11 memorial, which is near the Police Department, 25 E. Joliet St.
The beam will be covered until it is officially unveiled during Schererville's annual 9/11 service at 6 p.m. Sept. 11 in the Police Department's parking lot.
Schererville police Cmdr. Brian Neyhart said the memorial committee set a goal of getting the beam in place before this year's service. He said the town received support from several groups to make that happen.
"It's a true expression of the community coming together," Kruzan said.
Randy Palmateer, business manager for the Northwestern Indiana Building and Construction Trades Council, said the town approached him about the project. Palmateer met with the Iron Workers Local 395, which also became involved with the work.
Palmateer said union labor built the Word Trade Center, and it was appropriate for local unions to participate in Schererville's project.
"This is what the unions do," Palmateer said, "We give back."
Smith Ready Mix donated concrete that Doug & Steve Construction poured to create the base in which the beam is mounted, Neyhart said.
Before it was placed there, Prism Painting covered the beam with a clear coat that will protect it, Kruzan said.
Risch Construction was involved in installing the beam. Charlie Risch, of Risch Construction, said steel tubing donated by AAA Supply Corp. was used to support the beam.
Neyhart said the town has more property available to expand the memorial site, and planning continues for future phases of the project. A bike trail eventually will pass the memorial, Neyhart said.
People interested in contributing to the 9/11 memorial project can contact the Schererville Fire Department at (219) 322-2599 or the Schererville Police Department at (219) 322-5000.