Steel from World Trade Center placed at memorial for Morgan firefighter


Share post:


SAYREVILLE — John Dragotta does not want the community to forget about his best friend, Owen Thomas Carlock, and with a memorial outside the Morgan Hose and Chemical Company constructed of salvaged steel from the World Trade Center, they are not likely to.

- Advertisement -

Carlock, a Middletown resident, had been a longtime member of the Fire Department City of New York’s (FDNY) Ladder 122 in Brooklyn until 2004 and subsequently became a volunteer of the Morgan company. As a member of the FDNY on Sept. 11, 2001, Carlock was a first responder at the site and spent six months doing recovery work there. Carlock died from a Sept. 11-related illness in 2012.

The death hit Dragotta, also a fire department member, particularly hard. He said his friend passed away right in his arms while they and friends were away in South Carolina. However, Dragotta said Carlock’s wife told him that it was comforting to know her husband died surrounded by friends.

“They knew we all loved him,” he said of Carlock’s family.

Dragotta said Sayreville firefighters commemorate their fallen brother every May 23, the date Carlock died.

However, prior to his death, Carlock had been working diligently to get the Sayreville fire department a piece of steel from the World Trade Center wreckage, Dragotta said. That piece is now at Morgan Hose and Chemical Company, where it is surrounded by American flags, and on the base beneath a steel beam is an emblem from the FDNY. A dedication for the memorial was held there on Oct. 15.

At the event, Dragotta served as the master of ceremonies, and speaking at the event were Assemblyman John Wisniewski and Mayor Kennedy O’Brien. Dragotta said Carlock’s family also attended.

“They were taken aback by what we did. They didn’t realize the scope [of] how big it was going to be,” Dragotta said.

Dragotta said there will be a plaque in Carlock’s honor placed at the memorial in the future.

Dragotta said a number of area businesses also contributed to the memorial, including Swider Concrete and Integrity Ironworks. Others, such as Big Harlie’s BBQ and F&J Italian Specialties, contributed food and drink after the dedication.

Dragotta said if it had not been for the area businesses donating their resources, the creation of the memorial and the dedication service never would have become reality.

Dragotta said he will continue to find ways to keep his best friend’s memory alive. He said he stands in for him at FDNY events, which he said is a great honor.

“We never forget him,” he said, choking a little on his words. “He’s so missed.”

Dragotta also said he wants others to know that other Sept. 11 first responders are dealing with illnesses and complications from their work at the site.

“Guys are dying every day,” he said.

Stay Connected


Current Issue

Latest News

Related articles

Windows of Understanding addresses social justice issues through art

For husband and wife, Dan and Peichi Waite, the word dignity played a big role when putting together...

A musician’s journey from professional drummer to film composer

With the upcoming release of Bezos:The Beginning, Professional composer, Colin Bell, shared his creative process on scoring his...

Giordano, Sulikowski to lead Old Bridge Board of Education

The Old Bridge Board of Education has reorganized with new leadership. Salvatore Giordano was nominated and selected - 5-4...

Investments in infrastructure, education and quality of life continue in Middlesex County

The Middlesex County Board of County Commissioners are moving full steam ahead into the new year as investments...