GLEN ROCK, NJ – Local Girl Scout Catie Stallone designed and organized the installation of a 9-11 Search & Rescue Dog Memorial Garden at the Glen Rock NJ Dog Park, according to its board.
The Board of the Glen Rock NJ Dog Park announced the creation and opening of the garden this past weekend. Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the official memorial garden dedication ceremony will be scheduled at a later date.
In consultation with representatives from the Dog Park and the Arboretum, including Glen Rock Thielke Arboretum Trustee Thomas Scerbo, Catie and other volunteers installed the garden as her Girl Scout Silver Award project.
“The Stallone’s are an ice hockey family and I was one of the program founders," Scerbo said. "So when Eileen Hillock (GR Dog Park non-profit’s President) mentioned my connection to the Arboretum, they were comfortable reaching out.”
“Catie and I met at the site, and she expressed her vision for the memorial," Scerbo said. "We agreed to create a raised planting bed, as the underlying soil isn’t great, and I told her I would donate the materials and build the bed. The Arboretum Stewardship Director Jean Epiphan offered up a list of plants that were deer resistant and good in full sun. Catie purchased the plants, laid them out beautifully and put them in. The result is really outstanding, and I was so happy to be a part of the process. Great lessons for her and a great new asset for the town.”
Catie’s mom Carolyn Canda Stallone told Scerbo, “ Your guidance, assistance and generosity has made this a very rewarding experience for Catie. We can’t thank you all enough.”
Catie shared, “I love my Community and I wanted to add something that would be long-lasting for everyone to enjoy. I chose the dog park memorial garden idea because I love animals and I wanted to remind everyone of the importance of service dogs. It’s very important that we remember how important the service dogs were on 9/11 and I thought the memorial garden would be a great tribute.”
Over 300 dogs assisted in the search and recovery effort at Ground Zero. A search and rescue dog found the last living person rescued from Ground Zero, 27 hours after the collapse. The last known 9/11 Search and Rescue dog was laid to rest in 2016.
J.T. Bolger of Ridgewood sponsored the recent American flag installation, which serves as the centerpiece of the memorial garden. Gulmy Construction assisted in the difficult task of prepping the area; Ranieri Electric installed the lighting; Rich Cervone of Cervone Plumbing and Heating donated his services to bring running water to the site; and Mike and Robyn O’Hagan’s Trex Plastic Bag recycling drive added a bench to the memorial garden.
In addition to creating the Memorial Garden, Catie spruced up and painted the donated picnic tables at the park. The tables will be incorporated into the enhanced park landscaping scheduled for September at month's end.
“I chose to paint the picnic tables because I wanted everyone who goes to the dog park or to the sports fields to have a nice, clean place to sit and enjoy being outside,” Catie said.
The Glen Rock NJ Dog Park is located at 350/390 Doremus Avenue, Glen Rock NJ behind the recycling center at Gulmy Square. It was entirely built and is managed by the Glen Rock Dog Park 501(c)3 non-profit charitable organization at no cost to the Borough of Glen Rock. Donations to the park are tax-deductible. The Glen Rock NJ Dog Park is the only park in the entire Country dedicated to the 9/11 Search and Rescue dogs. For additional information on the park or to make a donation please see www.GlenRockNJDogPark.org or on FaceBook @ glenrocknjdogpark .