Honoring our fallen


By Michael Ullery



Retired Covington firefighter Mike O’Donnell stands watch outside the Piqua Fire Station during the annual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.


Annual Winan's To Winan's half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.


Annual Winan's To Winan's half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.


Annual Winan's To Winan's half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.


Annual Winan's To Winan's half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.


Annual Winan's To Winan's half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.


Annual Winan's To Winan's half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.


Annual Winan's To Winan's half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.


Annual Winan's To Winan's half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.


Annual Winan's To Winan's half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.


Annual Winan's To Winan's half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.


Annual Winan's To Winan's half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.


Annual Winan's To Winan's half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.


Annual Winan's To Winan's half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.


Annual Winan's To Winan's half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.


Annual Winan's To Winan's half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.


Annual Winan's To Winan's half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.


Annual Winan's To Winan's half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.


Annual Winan's To Winan's half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.


Annual Winan's To Winan's half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.


Annual Winan's To Winan's half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.


PIQUA – The annual Winan’s To Winan’s Half-Marathon was held Sunday morning with runners leaving the downtown Troy Winan’s location at 8 a.m. and running the scenic bike path north toward the Winan’s Headquarters in downtown Piqua.

Sunday also marked the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks against the United States that saw the destruction of the World Trade Center buildings, damage to the Pentagon, an airliner brought down in Pennsylvania, and the loss of thousands of American lives.

Proving the adage that one man can make a difference, local resident and retired Covington firefighter Mike O’Donnell launched his own tribute to the fallen of 9/11, especially the 343 FDNY firefighters who lost their lives on that tragic day.

O’Donnell, 69, is a 36-year veteran of service with the Covington Fire Department. In 2011, on the tenth anniversary of the attacks, O’Donnell, who lived in New Hope, Ohio, at the time, constructed a memorial to the fallen firefighters and stood watch outside a church where his wife served as pastor.

On this 15th anniversary Sunday, O’Donnell again donned his dress blue uniform and fire axe, and stood watch near a three-dimensional poster depicting the “twin towers” of the World Trade Center and New York skyline.

When asked why he chooses to pay tribute in this way, O’Donnell’s answer was a simple, “It needs to be done.”

At precisely 8:46 a.m. and again at 9:03, the times when the first two airlines slammed into the World Trade Center Towers, O’Donnell came to attention and rendered a hand salute, as a recorded rendition of bagpipes played Amazing Grace.

O’Donnell assumed his post at 8 a.m. It took nearly an hour before the first Winan’s To Winan’s runners reached his position. As the runners passed him, first one every few minutes, and later in small groups, the retired firefighter stood his post. Some of the runners acknowledged him with a wave or a nod of the head but that was enough.

In all, 393 runners participated in the this year’s Winan’s race. Some sported red, white, and blue clothing.

Flag bearers lined the final yards to the finish line as friends and family members encouraged racers as they ran down High Street toward the black and white striped finish.

It was the perfect combination of fun, excitement, and most important, honoring America’s fallen.

Retired Covington firefighter Mike O’Donnell stands watch outside the Piqua Fire Station during the annual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_MU2_9451-1.jpgRetired Covington firefighter Mike O’Donnell stands watch outside the Piqua Fire Station during the annual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Annual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_MU2_9469-1.jpgAnnual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Annual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_MU2_9477-1.jpgAnnual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Annual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_MU2_9479-1.jpgAnnual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Annual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_MU2_9481-1.jpgAnnual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Annual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_MU2_9483-1.jpgAnnual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Annual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_MU2_9488-1.jpgAnnual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Annual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_MU2_9490-1.jpgAnnual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Annual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_MU2_9495-1.jpgAnnual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Annual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_MU2_9496-1.jpgAnnual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Annual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_MU2_9500-1.jpgAnnual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Annual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_MU2_9503-1.jpgAnnual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Annual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_MU2_9508-1.jpgAnnual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Annual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_MU2_9509-1.jpgAnnual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Annual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_MU2_9510-1.jpgAnnual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Annual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_MU2_9514-1.jpgAnnual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Annual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_MU2_9518-1.jpgAnnual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Annual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_MU2_9526-1.jpgAnnual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Annual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_MU2_9530-1.jpgAnnual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Annual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_MU2_9533-1.jpgAnnual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Annual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_MU2_9539-1.jpgAnnual Winan’s To Winan’s half-marathon race and a tribute to fallen firefighters and first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

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By Michael Ullery

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