david mcdonald

David McDonald, center, poses with emergency responders at a previous Pelco memorial. Photo via fdnycolumbia.com

published on September 10, 2018 - 12:40 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Former Pelco CEO David McDonald was at home preparing his children for school on the morning of Sep. 11, 2001. When he saw the World Trade Center burning, he called them in to see what had happened.

They had all been in New York just the week before and ate dinner at the Windows on the World Restaurant on the 106th and 107th floors of the North Tower.

“So for my kids — and certainly for me too — it sort of brought it all home,” McDonald said. “We had just been there.”

In the years since, the memorial first put on by McDonald at the Pelco headquarters has been a mainstay event for the Clovis community, one that has continued even as Pelco was purchased by Schneider Electric.

This year, the California Memorial event, to be held Tuesday at the old Pelco campus at 200 W. Pontiac Way, will include the Combined Military Honor Guard, Marine Rifle Team, Pipes and Drum team along with uniformed personnel including law enforcement and firefighters.

McDonald will be this year’s recipient of the flag in recognition of his work in organizing the California Memorial.

“The original event was very important and was widely recognized around the whole community, and everybody was very proud of what we did,” McDonald said. “And so each annual event afterwards has also been very important to the community.”

Pelco, however, will not be alone in commemorating the anniversary of the attack. Fresno City College will hold a 9/11 Memorial Wreath March at 9 a.m. The march will begin near the fountain at the center of campus, proceeding to the Veterans Peace Memorial.

FCC Fire and Police Academy cadets will carry and escort the wreath, accompanied by bagpipes. Speakers for the event will include Jacob McAfee, director of the Fire Academy, FCC President Carole Goldsmith and State Center Community College police officer Michael Grahl, who was a Marine on duty at Camp Pendleton when the attack occurred.

Duncan Polytechnical High School at 4330 E. Garland Ave. will have its own service running from 8-8:45 a.m. The ceremony will feature the color guard and cadets from the Air Force JROTC, along with leadership students lining the main hall with American flags. The school will further host members of the community who have served.

“Duncan’s annual ceremony on 9/11 is a wonderful way to honor those in our city who protect our community and our country,” said Superintendent Bob Nelson. “It reminds us what if means to serve others.”

Meanwhile, in Madera, Ground Zero volunteer Frances Dunniway will be speaking at B-K Lighting of Madera’s annual 9/11 Memorial Ceremony at 40429 Brickyard Dr. A family nurse practitioner, Dunniway was deployed to New York on Sep. 23, 2001 as a member of the San Bernardino County Disaster Medical Assistance Team.

The Madera event will commence at 10 a.m.

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