Student 9/11 sculpture returns to Shrewsbury

Assabet Valley Regional Technical High seniors from the metalwork program pose with their memorial sculpture with Officer Brian Sklut, Instructor Neil Mansfield, Shrewsbury Police Chief Kevin Anderson and Officer Andrew Vanwagoner before until the sculpture leaves for Shrewsbury. The students, left to right, standing, are Ben Cohen, Benjamin Kelly and Trevor Sarsfield. Kneeling, Joel Carey, Owen Garron, Malory Baldinger and Amber MacConnell. (Photo/Cindy Zomar)

SHREWSBURY- As the cars pulled up for a police-escorted motorcade traveling down Route 290 and the streets of Shrewsbury last Thursday, their drivers probably had no idea why a truck from Shrewsbury facilities would deserve such attention.

Little did they know that a sculpture containing a piece of steel from the World Trade Center was being carefully transported from Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School in Marlborough to Shrewsbury for storage awaiting the completion of the new police department headquarters in the city.

A remnant of Ground Zero

Several months ago, the metal fabrication program at Assabet was tasked with constructing a memorial for the first responders who lost their lives on 9/11.

For this, retired Navy instructor and leader Neil Mansfield was able to obtain a piece of steel cut from the rubble of Ground Zero to make it the focal point of the sculpture.

Assabet seniors took the project and executed it, completing it before their next graduation.

As the Shrewsbury Police Station site is still under construction, Public Buildings Division Manager Keith Baldinger will keep the approximately six hundred pound sculpture safe until it can be installed and dedicated to the men and women who died in the September 11 attacks.

A bonding exercise

Seniors from the Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School from the metal fabrication program pose with their 9/11 commemorative sculpture. Left to right, standing, Benjamin Kelly, Ben Cohen, Trevor Sarsfield and Joel Carey. Kneeling, Malory Baldinger, Owen Garron and Amber MacConnell. (Photo/Cindy Zomar)

Amber MacConnell was part of the team of elders who built the memorial.

She recently delved into the process of creating sculpture.

“The design plans took some time, and there was the approval process to get approval from the architects and the building committee,” she said. “Once we got the green light, we moved forward, all working together.”

“It was such a special project, we all had our specific roles, but we bonded,” she continued.

Her classmate Malory Baldinger agreed, adding that she had heard many people remembering what they were doing on September 11, 2001.

“My sister took her first steps in front of the television that was showing the scene,” she said. “It will forever be intertwined in my family’s memories.”

The group of seniors also included Owen Garron, whose design was the chosen one, Trevor Sarsfield, Joel Carey, Benjamin Kelly and Ben Cohen.

Carey, originally from Shrewsbury, visited the 9/11 memorial in New York.

This effort, however, prompted further introspection.

“This project made me reflect on the lives lost and I really want to honor them with something that I can show my kids one day,” he said.

100% built by students

A sculpture containing a piece of iron from the World Trade Center in New York City waits to be loaded onto a truck from the Shrewsbury facilities for transport. (Photo/Cindy Zomar)

Mansfield has praised his students, reminding Police Chief Kevin Anderson last Thursday that the sculpture was built entirely by students.

“They went to the Shrewsbury site, did the paperwork, met the architects, welded, forged and fabricated, Mansfield said. “It’s 100% student work.”

Thanking the students, Police Chief Kevin Anderson called their efforts “incredible teamwork.”

“These are the first responders who ran into danger, and this will be a really good memorial to those who lost their lives that day,” he told the students. “On behalf of the Town of Shrewsbury, we truly appreciate what you have created.”


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