9/11 Memorial caretaker in San Antonio looking for volunteers

Mariza Mendoza, KSAT San Antonio

 It’s been 11 years since the 9/11 Memorial in the Alamo City was built and opened to the public, but some visitors said over the years, it’s fallen on hard times, showing age and lack of care and security.

Caretakers of the memorial say thousands of dollars and lots of TLC are needed to make sure it’s ready for this year’s 9/11 service.

But visitor Azalea Wheeler [was] shocked to see it in such disarray.

“Trash, no water fountains on, dirty,” said Wheeler.

When she recently visited the 9/11 Memorial on Highway 90, Wheeler started crying. That’s because the monument was beginning to show signs of serious wear and tear.

The operations administrator of the Memorial, Peter Onofre, said, “We’re trying to raise money and prepare to bring volunteers out here as well to get it back where it needs to be.”

Onofre said the last major renovation on the memorial was done five years ago.

New Life Christian Center built it back in 2003 and has since been responsible for its upkeep.

Recently, a donation box at the site was broken into, and due to lack of funds, it hasn’t been repaired.

 

The memorial was once surrounded by fountains and pools of water, but due to tough economic times, these fountains have been dry for months.

“It’s a major expense to really dig into the foundation to repair it,” said Onofre.

In fact, Onofre believes it will take at least $10,000 to get the memorial where it should be.

“(It will) go towards repairing the fountains, go towards the landscaping and also the lights and the light fixtures, and also the painting, and repair of the box, the donation box, and the sign as well,” said Onofre.

Until that money is raised, visitors like Wheeler will remain heartbroken, especially for the people who lost loved ones in the 9/11 tragedy.

“I can’t imagine what the family or friends of these victims might feel if they saw it this way,” said Wheeler.

The 9/11 Memorial is looking for volunteers to help clean up and renovate the site for 9/11, which is about a month away.

If you’d like to help, click here.

New Life Christian Center is responsible for handling all upkeep and donations of the site.

They expect the memorial to be ready for 9/11 this year and invite the community to attend the 9/11 Commemoration on September 11 at 9 a.m.

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