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Dog handler recalls Ground Zero at 9/11 remembrance event in Warren County

Published: Wednesday, September 11, 2019 @ 5:00 PM


Exactly 18 years after John Patrick got the call — that he and his search dog would be headed to Ground Zero — he joined other service members for a remembrance ceremony. 

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Just days after the 9/11 attacks, the Dayton Daily News front page on Sept. 20, 2001, showed Patrick and his dog. 

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“My wife called and was crying and she said ‘Your picture is in the paper,’” he recalled. 

An Associated Press photographer snapped the photo. 

“I’d gone on a break after a very troubling find,” said Patrick, of Waynesville. 

It was a troubling find on a terrible mission. 

“I had a dog that was trained for live and deceased recovery,” he said. 

That’s why Patrick, who worked for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, went to Ground Zero. 

“I had the right tool at the right time, unfortunately for the wrong job,” he said. 

In the week and a half he was in New York, he slept in a public school auditorium with his dog. 

On Wednesday, 18 years later, school children who weren’t alive during Patrick’s mission joined Warren County fire and EMS personnel and the police chiefs association for a ceremony near the Warren County Courthouse. 

“This is for the younger generation that was not around,” Patrick said. 

However, they were born into a world forever changed by the scenes Patrick, and so many others, will never forget. 

This was just one of many 9/11 remembrance ceremonies throughout the region.