Fla. Dedicates Memorial To Hero 9/11 Chaplain

Before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the men and women of St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church had never heard of the Rev. Mychal Judge.

But as they watched news footage of ground zero that day, they saw firefighters carrying the New York City Fire Department chaplain out of the rubble, his eyes shut.

The image moved and inspired them.

On Saturday, three years to the day after the terrorist attacks, about 75 church members, police officers, and firefighters gathered at the Pembroke Pines church to dedicate a four-foot-tall memorial stone to Judge's memory.

The Catholic chaplain was killed while administering last rites to a firefighter who died in the World Trade Center. He suffered a heart attack after he was struck by debris.

Judge had no connection to Pembroke Pines, but church members say he symbolized the dedication and sacrifice demonstrated by emergency workers who lost their lives on that fateful day.

''The memorial was dedicated to him because of his courage, and the fact that danger didn't phase him,'' said Blaise Giove, 64, a member of the Knights of Columbus fraternal organization. ``It didn't matter what he lost.''

The Knights of Columbus, who organized the memorial service, said the monument was also a tribute to several of their deceased members.

Saturday's ceremony focused mostly on Judge's heroics in the closing moments of his life, and the importance of remembering the emergency workers who died on 9/11.

''It's a tribute we all should share,'' said Pembroke Pines Mayor Frank Ortis, who attended the memorial dedication.

``There were a lot of heroes that day, and I wanted to be here to remember them.''

Firefighters were also honored in a Miami-Dade County 9/11 memorial ceremony on Saturday.

Miami-Dade Fire Station 3 in Westchester, along with Southwest 82nd Avenue from Bird Road to Miller Drive, were officially renamed.

They'll now be called Heroes of September 11.

The station and avenue were dedicated about 10 a.m. Saturday in memory of the 343 firefighters who lost their lives during the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

The Miami-Dade firefighters union chose the station and avenue because of its address, 3911 SW 82nd Ave., and for its deployment of firefighters to New York after the attacks.

More than 2,600 people died at the World Trade Center, 125 died at the Pentagon, and 256 died aboard four hijacked airplanes that crashed into those sites and into a field in western Pennsylvania, according to the 9/11 Commission Report.

Herald staf writer Brooke Prescott contributed to this report.