Excerpts from wandtv.com:

Do you remember where you were on September 11, 2001? Most Americans can still recall exactly what they were doing when they heard the news.

Now, we are two weeks away from the 16th anniversary of the tragedy. New York Firefighter Tim Duffy, remembers every second of what he was doing when he found out the World Trade Center had been attacked.

Duffy says, “That morning I was actually doing a tune up on the bike, and I had a spark plug out when I heard the first explosion. It sounded far away and I wasn’t working so I continued working on the bike, but then I heard sirens and the sirens didn’t stop after 10, 15, 20 seconds they just got  more and more. So I knew something happened so I ran into the house to call the fire house to see what was going on. As I reached for the phone it started ringing, my wife was dropping off my kids at the Y for pre-k, and she said a plane just hit the World Trade Center. I lived right on the beach near the horizontal bridge, and I could see it from my kitchen window so I turned and saw the North tower burning. So I was trying to get off the phone to go and of course she was telling me ‘You’re off today, you don’t have to go.’ And she’s trying to keep me there and then the second plane hit, and so I told her I gotta go, I’ll see you later.”

Duffy might be known for being one of the many firefighters on scene that day, but he is also known for a picture that was snapped of him riding his motorcycle through an empty, debris-filled street on his way to the destruction.

The picture brings back his memories, “It’s right when I got off the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s right behind the Millennium hotel, which across the street from the North Tower. I made that turn and when you look at the picture you can see a ray of light coming from the East. I made the right hand turn to head to the Trade Center which was a block. Actually when I got to the corner of Church, there was an engine from one of the planes that was all banged up and it was standing upright on it’s cone. It was very surreal and real.”

Tim says it was his sole job to keep people safe. He says, “People were dying and I had a job to do. It’s just that simple. I lost 50 friends in the first hour, 343 boys I worked with and were losing on average about 2-3 boys a month to cancer. Just last week we lost 4 guys in one week.”

Duffy reluctantly retired from the fire department in 2004 after he says he hid from medical as long as he could. Now, Tim is in Central Illinois visiting a friend who introduced him to Riki Dial, a Carpenters Local volunteer for the Decatur 9/11 Memorial.

Riki says, “It was a freak chance, a freak opportunity. I was at home yesterday, Sunday afternoon. My next door neighbor Mark Teak came over and told me ‘Hey I’ve got someone over here I’d really like to introduce you to.’ So I went over and had a beer with Mark and Tim and listened to Tim’s story and just how amazing it was. I kept thinking how it would tie in very good with the memorial that we’re building here in Decatur.”

So Tim headed to Nelson Park and was amazed and thankful that Decatur will continue to remember the lives lost on that tragic day of September 11, 2001.

Today, Tim says he wants to continue helping people, so now he is a part of 1 Soldier, 1 Dog, 1 Team, a 501 C (3) that pairs veterans with PTSD with dogs. He says they do not buy dogs, but they get them from shelters, so at the end of the day, they save a soldier and a dog.

Tim Duffy says he hopes to come back to Decatur once the Memorial is completed to see it lit up.