County honors local heroes for NYC search efforts

Members of the Puget Sound Urban Search and Rescue Task Force yesterday filled the Pierce County Council chambers on the 10th floor of the City-County Building, as the county honored that group for its efforts at the World Trade Center site in New York City following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

County Executive John Ladenburg and the council recognized Pierce County members of the search and rescue group, which arrived at ground zero – where the twin towers of the World Trade Center stood – on Sept. 19.

The tribute occurred at the beginning of the council’s regular 3 p.m. meeting, and included a proclamation “honoring the hard work and perseverance displayed by the Puget Sound Urban Search and Rescue Task Force during their search and rescue recovery efforts at the World Trade Center site in New York City.”

Council members on hand included, Chair Wendell Brown, Calvin Goings, Harold Moss, Pat O’Malley and Kevin Wimsett. Council members Jan Shabro and Karen Biskey were not present.

Ladenburg said the team was being honored because “they volunteered” for a “terrible and tough job.”

He added: “They’re the first heroes.”

Council members also had high praise for the team.

“You’re the best people we have to do this,” Brown said. “The whole nation should be proud of you.”

Wimsett said a tragedy like the East Coast terrorist attacks makes people realize how important the job the search and rescue team does is.

“I can’t even fathom what that would be like,” he said, referring to the difficult job of search and recovery among the rubble of the World Trade Center.

Those honored include 23 people and two search dogs:

* Dr. Robert Marshall, a Pierce County resident and Navy doctor at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Bremerton;

* Kent Olson and “Thunder” and Jane David and “Kita” of Northwest Disaster Search Dogs;

* Gregory Varney of KPFF Engineers;

* Charles Morris II of R. Hudson Engin-eering;

* Dan Nolta, Pierce County Sheriff’s De-partment chaplain (assigned by the American Red Cross to work at the family assistance center in New Jersey);

* Dan Hudson, Buck Mierke and Tom Miner of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department;

* Cynthia Fajardo of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department/Town of Steilacoom;

* Tim Lenk of Pierce County Emergency Management;

* Michael Kondra, Alan Scott, Keith Wright of Central Pierce Fire and Rescue;

* Scott Casebolt, Lawrence Ellis, Todd Magliocca, Faith Mueller, Scott Nicholson and Robert Powers of the Tacoma Fire Department;

* James McAdams and Ryan Taylor of the Puyallup Fire Department;

* Larry Woodard of Good Samaritan Hospital.