Firefighter convention heads to Bowman | News


Hundreds of firefighters from around North Dakota will be converging on Bowman in the first week of June for the annual state convention.

Among the events planned will be NDFA Business meetings, a golf tournament, a Trap shoot, a Fire apparatus/car parade and show.

In addition, there will also be a 911-memorial trailer, which will be open to public.

The convention’s keynote speaker will be Joe Torillo. He was a survivor of the World Trade Center attack by terrorists in 2001. The now-retired FDNY lieutenant was buried alive twice that day and has since become a motivational speaker. He travels the world as a professional speaker with a quest to make our country the “Re-United States of America”, resurrecting patriotism, trumpeting the men and women of the Armed Services, mentoring adolescents, and inspiring audiences of all sizes to embrace change and never give up on their dreams, according to his website.

Torrillo 25-year served with the NYC Fire Dept. he is now retired on disability.  The first 15 years of his career in Engine Company # 10, across the street from the South Tower of the World Trade Center.

While Joe was involved in the rescue operations, when the South tower fell at 9:59 a.m. Joe was buried alive and suffered a fractured skull, broken ribs, broken arm, crushed spine and heavy internal bleeding. Shortly after being found alive in the rubble, they removed Joe on a long spine board and placed him on the deck of a boat on the Hudson River, with the expectation of getting him to a hospital.

As emergency personnel were holding his split scalp together, the North Tower fell and buried Joe alive again. He was alone in the engine room.

About 45 minutes later, Joe was once again rescued from the debris, and taken across the Hudson River, where he awoke in a hospital room at the Jersey City Trauma Center in New Jersey. Because he was wearing a borrowed set of firefighting clothing with the name Thomas McNamara, Joe was mis-identified by that name, and Joe was declared missing for 3 days.

By the time the sunset on the evening of September11, 2001, Joe had miraculously survived the collapse of both Towers, but with life-long injuries, his web page explained.

According to the schedule, there are events planned for the spouses, as well as other events on Main Street, vendors and door prizes.

Chris Palczewski, the training officer for the Bowman Fire Department, states there will be people attending from fire departments all over the state. “It is basically the North Dakota Firefighters Association annual meeting. It will be a meeting with the officers of the NDFA and with all the voting members from all the departments.

“Normally about 250 people would be coming to Bowman. That is usually what registers for that convention. It is held in different towns all over the state every year,” Palczewski explained. However, it was scheduled to be in Devil’s Lake a year ago before it was canceled because of the pandemic.

“We had just a virtual one, but we didn’t elect new officers. This will be a two-year lull.”

The actual convention will be held in the Four Seasons Pavilion on the Bowman County Fairgrounds. “It will be set up with a stage. It has been done every year all around the state. But it has never been in Bowman before as far as I know. It used to be held in Medora, and then they started having it all over. Three years ago, it was in Dickinson. Before that it was in Valley City and before that in Bottineau.

“At this convention, there will be nominations for host cities for the next two or three years since we missed last year,” Palczewski added.

When Watford City was the host city several years ago, Bowman was selected for 2021.

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