Dr. Gary got the start to life that every little boy dreams of: Constantly being surrounded by fire trucks! His dad loved fire trucks and had framed photos of them all over his walls. Gary also loved them--it became a passion he and his father would share. Now fully grown, Gary's never lost his childhood love for the big red machines. When Engine 49, "Presidio", rolled into Gary’s life he just had to have her. He says she is the “biggest mechanical treat (he’s) ever had”.
Gary’s father was the Chief Communications Officer for New York. He was the man who wrote Land/Mobile Communications and designed and built the 100' antenna that sat atop one of the twin towers that was used to transmit to the fire stations in the event of an emergency. He was gifted with a $10,000 award of achievement in Washington for his work and contribution to the emergency rescue community.
Gary’s father passed away prior to 9/11 so he did not witness the tragedy; but the attack on the twin towers hit the rest of the family very hard due to their history with the NYFD. The antenna Gary’s father built, previously perched on the very top of the building, landed standing straight up and completely intact after the tower came crashing down. Gary believes its survival stood as a tribute to his father’s hard work and dedication.
It was the work his father did for the Fire Department along with the selflessness and bravery of NY firemen on that day that inspired Gary to take Presidio and turn her into a rolling memorial of the 9/11 attack. Twenty percent of the firemen on duty that day never came home. Gary hopes Presidio will be a lasting tribute to their sacrifice. Gary has taken the heartbreaking loss of lives, the devastation and destruction of two national landmarks, the horror of the unexpected attack on our homeland, the dedication of his father’s contribution to emergency services and his love of fire engines all together in this beautiful red monument whose license plate says it all: RMBR911.
Born in Grosse Pointe, my family relocated to Traverse City when I was very young. I have always called Traverse City home and learned to drive a stick shift here in a classic, electric blue, 1989 Chevy Camaro on the beautiful back roads. I joined the Hagerty family in December 2013 but continue to volunteer on weekends at the assisted living facility where I previously worked. By day I roam Traverse City with my two huge dogs (a pit and a rottie) and by night you can find me ballroom dancing at variety of venues. I am proud to say I own my dream mode of transportation--a 2004 Honda Shadow (black w/ ghost flames!!)--a practical vehicle for gorgeous Northern Michigan!