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Commemorating an event that defined an era


Sept. 11 memorial way to fund park development



Cheri Borowiec, the Genoa City park commissioner, said she still is looking for community groups and others to help participate in her upcoming 9/11 memorial project. For more information, call Borowiec at (262) 279-6472.
April 27, 2011 | 08:58 AM
Genoa City —- Numbing.

That's how Village Park Commissioner Cheri Borowiec described the effect of Sept. 11, 2001.

That morning, she was in the Home Plate, a former village restaurant, when the village clerk at that time came in and told her an airplane flew into one of the World Trade Center towers. She said she went home immediately, turned on the news and watched a second airplane crash into the other tower.

That's what numbed her.

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"Everything stopped and went into slow motion," Cheri said.

She did what thousands of other Americans did — called her family members. Her mom, Elaine Madsen, is an Emmy Award-winning documentary film maker, playwright, author and poet.

"Mom was in Chicago," Cheri said.

Her brother, Michael Madsen, an actor who has appeared in several movies and television shows, including "Reservoir Dogs," the "Kill Bill" movies and "Free Willy," was in Los Angeles.

"I remember being on the phone with him going, 'What is that?'" she said about watching the events of Sept. 11 unfold on TV. "I was talking to Michael after the first tower fell. Then, after a while, we just kind of stopped talking but we were still on the phone."

Cheri said the person who was impacted the most was her sister, Virginia Madsen, an actress who was nominated for an Oscar in 2005 for her role in "Sideways."

According to Cheri, Virginia was planning a trip to a film festival on the East Coast. Her plans had changed, and apparently, it was a life-saving alteration. "(Virginia) would have been leaving on one of the planes which went into the towers," Cheri said.

Now, with the 10-year anniversary of an event which defined a generation upon us — an event Cheri said made her feel "paralyzed for days" — she said she wants to do something.

"There are a whole lot of children who were born after this event who maybe didn't have an understanding of it and how it altered things," she said. "It changed everything, the way Pearl Harbor did for that generation."

And with this 9/11 memorial project, Cheri said she hopes to also support another project close to her heart — the development of Genoa City's Dr. Miller Park.

Daffodils

She said she wants to see more than 3,000 daffodil bulbs planted in the park.

"What we'd be doing is planting a bulb for everyone who perished in the 9-11 attacks," Cheri said.

The idea: People would receive a certain number of bulbs to plant in the park after they make a donation. She said tentatively, the thought is someone could obtain five bulbs for a donation of between $5 and $10. Cheri said she also is looking for local businesses to provided planting tools to help during the event, which is set for Sunday, Sept. 11. She said the Genoa City Lions Club will sponsor a breakfast at 10 a.m. at the Brookwood Middle School, 1020 Hunter's Ridge Drive.

Also, proceeds from the May 14 Rummage In The Park event organized by village's Parks and Recreation and Community Relations Committee will go toward the 9-11 memorial project.

However, the real impact of the project won't be seen in full until spring 2012. Cheri said that's when the daffodils will bloom.

"Seeing 3,000 daffodils blooming is quite a way to recognize 9-11," she said.

This isn't the first time Cheri organized a project related to 9-11.

Shortly after the attacks, she made Teddy Bears for the Beary Godmothers.

The bears were sent to the New York Fire Department. Although complications arose and it wasn't certain where the bears would end up for a time, Cheri said Elaine Madsen had a contact in New York who knew someone who headed the Widow and Children's Fund for New York firefighters. Cheri said these Teddy Bears were given to the NYFD during a Christmas party in 2001.

"I think we made 1,300," Cheri said.

Dr. Miller Park

Although Cheri said there is a 10-year development plan for the park, "it's been put on hold because of finances."

She said budget restraints have prevented any more work at the park.

There's still a considerable list of park needs, including benches, playground equipment, the creation of two dog parks, a picnic area, grooming and development of a BMX area and grooming and placing identification signs on the nature trail.

She gave a rough estimate of between $50,000 to $100,000 to complete this list.

"We're hoping this 9-11 memorial project will not only be what it is, but will raise enough money to help develop the park," she said.

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