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Friday, December 28, 2001

(Sun photo by Cathy Gilkey)

Shelby Caudill, 6, with her dad Steven Caudill, recently made a new friend in New Jersey after Lt. John Frimmel, training officer with the Bayonne Fire Department, New Jersey, received her donation of water after the Sept. 11 attacks. While a student at Pilot View Elementary, Shelby put her name and phone number on the bottles of water she sent to the New York area, and Lt. Frimmel called to say thank you earlier this month.

Message on
a bottle

Girl's message touches New Jersey
firefighter called to Ground Zero

Sun Staff Writer

A 6-year-old Clark County girl has a new friend in New Jersey after she reached out to him in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Shelby Caudill, daughter of Steven and Stephanie Caudill, wanted to let the rescuers in New York City know she was thinking of them after the terrorist attacks. So when her first-grade teacher at Pilot View Elementary School asked for donations of water, she and her family put her name and phone number on it.

A few weeks ago, a firefighter who received one of her bottles of water called to say thanks.

Lt. John Frimmel, training officer with the Bayonne, N.J., Fire Department, received one of Shelby's bottles. It touched him so much he decided to keep it to remind him that others were thinking of the rescuers dealing with the horrors of Sept. 11, he told The Sun.

“It's nice to know people are thinking of us,” he said.

Frimmel was dispatched from Bayonne, a suburb of Jersey City, to Ground Zero Sept. 12 with equipment needed to help clean out the rubble and search for survivors. Upon arriving there, it was worse than he could ever imagine, he said.

“I was flabbergasted,” he said. “There are no words to express what I saw.”

What he saw was more than five inches of dust coating everything, and papers everywhere.

“The dust was so thick it almost looked like snow,” he said. “I found papers from an office on the 92nd floor.”

Hearing from Frimmel made her feel good that she did something, Shelby said.

“You should have seen her when we got that message,” Stephanie Caudill said. “Her face just lit up.”

Shelby hasn't had a chance to talk to Frimmel on the phone, but Steven Caudill, a detective with the Winchester Police Department, did last week. Caudill said he was glad to know his daughter was able to reach out to someone during the difficult time.

Copyright 2001, The Winchester Sun