Walk With Joe welcomes all to remember Sept. 11

Annual event in Manalapan honors heroes of Flight 93 who fought terrorists

Staff Writer

Agroup of dedicated individuals will not let Americans forget the heroism of the passengers who were on United Airlines Flight 93 on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.

The individuals who fought back against a team of hijackers will be honored during the ninth annual Walk With Joe to be held at 10 a.m. Sept. 11 at Monmouth Battlefield State Park, Route 33, Manalapan.

The event is a memorial 5K walk to remember Joe Driscoll and his fellow passengers who resisted hijackers on the morning of the terrorist attacks on America.

Flight 93 crashed in Shanksville, Pa., killing everyone aboard. It is believed that the terrorists were planning to crash the jet into a target in Washington, D.C.

Driscoll, 70, was a longtime resident of Manalapan who raised his family in the community and was well known as a youth sports coach and teacher of religious instruction. He died on Flight 93 as he was headed to Yosemite National Park in California for his annual hiking trip.

Driscoll’s son, Pat, is a member of the Yorktowne Club, a community benevolent organization in Manalapan that has coordinated the Walk With Joe since its inception.

Michael Sullivan was a friend of Joe Driscoll’s when both men were raising their families in Manalapan. He has been a supporter of the Walk With Joe since the day it was decided to hold an event in honor of Driscoll.

“We were mad about what had happened [on Sept. 11], and we wanted to honor Joe and to help Maureen (Driscoll’s wife) and the kids,” Sullivan said this week as he recalled the time nine years ago when members of the Yorktowne Club discussed what they could do to honor their friend. “We don’t want people to forget what happened.

“When we started the Walk With Joe, we were not sure where it was going to go. It was not originally designed to raise money, but we have made it very productive and we have raised money for some very fine charities,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan said he has read everything that has been written about Flight 93 and the people who were on the plane that sunny morning in September 2001.

“It was an unusually gifted group of people on that plane,” he said when a reporter noted that of the four planes that were hijacked by terrorists that day, the passengers and crew of Flight 93 fought back.

Sullivan said he is certain that Driscoll, a retired engineer and Korean War veteran who served in the U.S. Navy, did what he had to do when it came time to act.

“Whatever happened on that plane, we knew he would be part of the action,” Sullivan said of his friend, adding that Driscoll had the “temperament” to be right in the middle of the action.

Registration for the Walk With Joe is $15 per person, with children under 7 free. Registration for the Walk with Joe is under way and will be accepted on the day of the event at Battlefield State Park. For more information about the Walk With Joe, visit www.walkwithjoe.com.

There is a stroller course in the park and people of all ages from all towns are welcome to participate in the walk, according to Jordan Maskowitz, who is a member of the Yorktowne Club and chairs the Walk With Joe.

Proceeds from this year’s Walk With Joe will be donated to the Samaritan Center, which provides food for families in need in Manalapan, Englishtown, Marlboro and Millstone Township; the Open Door Food Pantry, Freehold; the Monmouth County Child Advocacy Center, Freehold Township; the American Recreational Military Services (ARMS); the Flight 93 Memorial, Shanksville, Pa.; and the Christopher Gray Memorial Scholarship Fund at the University of West Virginia.

Manalapan High School graduate Chris Gray, the son of Yorktowne Club member and former Manalapan Mayor Jim Gray, was killed on Sept. 11, 2001, while he was working at the World Trade Center in New York City.

New this year is the event’s support for two scholarships at Manalapan High School, Maskowitz said. The scholarships will be presented to a young man and a young woman who have excelled in community service.

Those scholarships will be presented in the name of Thomas McCann, a firefighter who was killed as rescue efforts were under way in lower Manhattan following the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Thomas McCann was the brother of Yorktowne Club member George McCann.

“The main drive of our effort is to keep the awareness [of Sept. 11] alive,” Maskowitz said. “To a lot of kids, it’s a page in a history book, but as long as we are here, we are going to do what we can to keep this alive. All of the participation in the Walk With Joe sends a strong message, and that drives home our message that we will never forget what happened.”

Contact staff writer Mark Rosman at gmntnews@gmnews.com.