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Special 9/11 Fire Engine Coming to Exchange Club Pancake Breakfast

The Remembrance Rescue Project will make a stop at the Grayslake Fire Station during the Oct. 16 event.

As if all-you-can-eat pancakes weren’t enough to drag you out of bed Sunday for the Exchange Club of Grayslake’s 38th annual Pancake Breakfast, the fundraising event also will feature a piece of national history not to be missed.

The New York Fire Department’s Rescue Company 4 fire engine, which responded to the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, will be on-site for visitors to see and touch.

Residents are invited to fill their bellies, support the Exchange Club and see some spectacular fire and rescue apparatus from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 16 at the downtown Grayslake Fire Protection District, Station 1, 160 Hawley St.

“It’s an amazing honor. We’re excited they’re coming,” said Grayslake Fire Battalion Chief Joris Lillge.

The rescue apparatus tours the country with the nonprofit Remembrance Rescue Project, created by firefighters to support the children of fallen firefighters, and it serve as an educational tool as well.

“It’s a rolling 9/11 memorial,” said Lillge. “It’s a very historical piece of equipment.”

Lillge said Grayslake Fire Chief John Christian saw the Rescue 4 engine at a Northwestern University football game last month and requested its appearance at Sunday’s pancake breakfast and fire station open house.

According to the Remembrance Rescue Project, Rescue 4 responded to the World Trade Center attacks with eight firefighters, who all lost their lives. After the attacks, Rescues 1 and 2 lost their rigs while Rescues 3 and 5 required major repairs.

Immediately after 9/11, Rescue 4 was the only rescue company covering New York City. Today, it is the only fire apparatus from those attacks operating outside of New York City.

“It’s a great asset for our fire department. It’s going to be a huge draw for many people,” said Wendy Petera, who serves on the Exchange Club’s board of directors.

In addition to this historical piece of equipment being displayed, event attendees and their children will have a chance to get up close and personal with Grayslake fire and rescue apparatus during an open house. Firefighters also will be sporting their various uniforms for an hourly fashion show.

Breakfast of Champions

Petera said the annual pancake breakfast continues to be one of the Exchange Club’s biggest fundraisers of the year.

“Everybody comes out,” she said. “Despite the economy, people are very supportive.”

On average, about 1,000 people come out to chow down on all-you-can-eat pancakes and sausages in the name of good times and goodwill.

The Exchange Club of Grayslake, which has about 70 members who meet every Thursday at noon at the restaurant, is a service club that works toward the prevention of child abuse and other social issues by raising money and awareness.

Event proceeds have assisted local agencies such as A Safe Place, Community Youth Network, , PADS Crisis Center, the Special Education District of Lake County and the Lake County Child Abuse Prevention Foundation.

On Sunday, Exchange Club members will work pancake-flipping shifts to feed the masses, with cooking up the sausages. The event also will feature kids’ activities like a coloring contest, balloon animals and table magic.

New this year will be a pancake-eating contest between the and Fire Departments.

There also will be $1 raffles for various prizes. Petera said they’ve gotten so many great donations, at least 100, that they’re running out of room for it all.

Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and $4 for children 7 to 12. Children 6 and younger get in free.

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