By Annika Tomlin | September 8, 2021
Last year after hearing that New York was likely to cancel its 9/11 Tribute in Light due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Amped Coffee Co. owners Keith and Jeanine Walashek took it upon themselves to create their own tribute.
They are giving it another go for the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The 9/11 Never Forgotten Tribute event will take place in the Amped Coffee Co. parking lot from 6 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, September 11.
“They originally did it because there was not a 9/11 tribute anywhere else in the Valley,” says Danielle Ness, store manager of Amped Coffee Co. “It was so successful, and they received so much great feedback about what the event meant to so many of our community members that they knew they had to do another one. I think the event has just grown.”
According to Ness, “tons on people of people in the community” have reached out asking how they can be a part of the upcoming event.
“This year they have also received a ton of donations from local businesses for gift baskets that they are silent auctioning off so that all of the proceeds can go to Tunnel to Towers,” Ness says.
The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation’s local chapter will benefit from the 9/11 event.
On September 11, 2001, firefighter Siller, who was assigned to Brooklyn’s Squad 1, had just finished his shift and was on his way to play golf with his brothers when he got word over his scanner of a plane hitting the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Upon hearing the news, Stephen called his wife, Sally, and asked her to tell his brothers he would catch up with them later. He returned to Squad 1 to get his gear.
Stephen drove his truck to the entrance of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, but it was closed for security purposes. Determined to carry out his duty, he strapped 60 pounds of gear to his back, and raced on foot through the tunnel to the Twin Towers, where he gave up his life while saving others.
Bidding on the silent auction runs until 9/11 when winners will be announced at the event.
Local businesses that contributed to the silent auction baskets include The Fountain Spa, Brookshire Hathaway, Anthem Guns and Ammo, Sonoran Desert Pet Resort, Clean Juice, American Family Insurance, True Fitness and Sunset Cycle Read. Donors also include Michele Celentano Portrait Photographer, the Anthem Area Chamber of Commerce, Sequoia Choice, Crystal Barcello from Edward Jones, Homestead Senior Care and Diane Dee Lee Insurance.
Ness said this year’s event will be bigger than last year’s.
“SWAT will be here with their apparatuses for demonstrations,” Ness says.
“There are fireworks on the stage. There are a few more speakers. Everything is a bit more grandiose. The firetruck will be back with the gigantic American flag and the Twin Tower lights. It’s probably double the size of last year as far as attendance and all of the things that we are offering within.”
While COVID-19 is still prevalent, this event will be outdoors.
“Unfortunately, there is not much in place in terms of COVID (regulations for the event),” Ness says. “People are welcome to wear masks and it’s bring-your-own-lawn-chair seating in the parking lot so people can spread out as much as they are able.”
Like last year’s event, Amped Coffee Co. will sell T-shirts for $25 prior to the event.
“Last year we sold ‘Never Forgotten’ shirts that pay tribute to 9/11 and all of the proceeds from those go to Tunnel to Towers,” Ness says.
“This year we will have 20th year edition (shirts) as well. The shirts are on sale within the store. Last year they sold out. That is something that people can purchase beforehand and wear on their own or wear to the event if they would like.”
Amped Coffee Co. is located at 3434 W. Anthem Way, Suite 102.