OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Spirit of Oklahoma’s journey is hopefully coming full circle. The Calera Fire Department in southern Oklahoma is on a mission to purchase the rescue fire truck and bring it back home to Oklahoma after years of serving in New York City.
The Spirit of Oklahoma was given to the Fire Department of New York in 2002. Oklahoma students raised nearly $500,000 for the rescue truck. It was given to FDNY as a thank you, as many NYC first responders traveled to Oklahoma in 1995 to provide aid after the Oklahoma City Bombing. Ten of the New York first responders who helped lost their lives while serving during 9/11. Their names are listed along the side of the Spirit of Oklahoma.
The mission to get the rescue truck back began when Calera Fire Department Chief Brian Norton was scrolling on Facebook.
“I saw this big fire truck and I was like, ‘oh. This looks familiar,’ and I just clicked on it, you know, not thinking anything of it, and then I saw “Spirit of Oklahoma” and I was like, ‘No… That’s not that truck,'” said Chief Norton.
But it was that truck, indeed, and it was up for sale on Facebook Marketplace.
“The original thoughts were like, this would be great to have back in the state,” said Chief Norton. “This is history.”
Chief Norton and Lt. Jake Trujillo reached out to the owner and asked for time to raise enough money to purchase the rescue truck.
“The deadline… The fourteen days was agreed upon on the 3rd of June,” said Lt. Trujillo. “So the actual deadline of it going back on the market is the 17th of June.”
They set up a GoFundMe and donations started coming in, chipping away at the $25,000 goal.
Somehow, retired New York City firefighter, Tim Brown, came across the page.
“It somehow showed up on my Facebook page and my jaw hit the floor,” said Brown. “And I mean, all the sayings. I fell off my chair. I was shocked.”
The names written on the side of the Spirit of Oklahoma belong to Brown’s friends that lost their lives during 9/11. They were the men he served with both in New York and in Oklahoma after the Oklahoma City Bombing.
Brown reached out to Lt. Trujillo, fully on board with getting the truck back to Oklahoma.
“This truck, the Spirit of Oklahoma belongs in Oklahoma,” said Brown. “It belongs with the people of Oklahoma.
The deadline to raise the $25,000 ends on June 15. $15,000 will be used to purchase the Spirit of Oklahoma and the remaining $10,000 will be used to bring it back to the state.
Once the rescue truck returns to Oklahoma, it will need to be restored, as it has some cosmetic damages. It will then be stored at the Tulsa Firefighter Museum.
If you would like to help bring the Spirit of Oklahoma home, you can visit its GoFundMe page.