MANALAPAN — Saturday, Sept. 9 will be a special day at Monmouth Battlefield State Park, as it marks the 16th annual "Walk With Joe," a ceremony and 5K walk to remember a township icon and two other residents who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

Friends of Patrick "Joe" Driscoll began the walk in 2002. Driscoll was among those killed when United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in Shanksville, Pa. Michele Cleary, publicity director for the walk, has not been with the event since the beginning but is keenly aware of Driscoll's place in it.

"He was a pillar of the community, he had done a lot of volunteer work, and they were putting this walk together in his honor," she said. "Over the years, it has become a walk in honor of all of the local area residents who lost their lives on 9/11."

Specifically, those residents include Chris Gray, who was working for Cantor Fitzgerald at the World Trade Center on that sunny Tuesday, and Tom McCann, a 23-year FDNY veteran just months away from retirement when he was called to the Twin Towers that morning.

Because the event is not a competitive 5K race, but rather a set-your-own-pace walk through a wooded trail in the park, Cleary said it and a preceding ceremony paint a backdrop of remembrance for the victims of the attacks.

"It is a really reflective time," she said. "The ceremony is a little bit about what happened that day, the memories of the people (and) lives that were lost."

Over the 15 prior years the "Walk With Joe" has been held, volunteers have grown steadily, emphasizing that this effort is not run by any outside group — the volunteers themselves are that group.

This year's event gets underway at 10 a.m. on Sept. 9. A $20 donation provides admission and a t-shirt, and proceeds will be split up among numerous charities.

For more, visit walkwithjoe.com.

"What's So Great About the Garden State" has reported on previous editions of the "Walk With Joe," in 2014, 2015, and 2016.

Patrick Lavery produces "New Jersey's First News" and is New Jersey 101.5's morning drive breaking news reporter. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com.

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