La Quinta Eagle Scout Brings 9-11 Memorial to the Desert

Memorial dedication doubles as Andrew Davis' Eagle Scout ceremony



Eagle Scout Andrew Davis views La Quinta's Sept. 11 Memorial, a project he worked on for more than two years, for the first time Wednesday evening.

Marissa Willman

The stories stayed with La Quinta’s Andrew Davis.

Through the delays. Through the price increases that threatened to undo his Eagle project of bringing a 9-11 memorial to his hometown over the past two years.

During a fund-raiser at Red Robin, a couple approached Andrew in tears. The 18-year-old learned the couple lost their daughter during the World Trade Center attacks.

“They were a huge reason why I kept going with this,” Andrew said. “I’ll never forget (their story).”

Wednesday, Andrew saw his work unveiled in the form of a memorial incorporating a piece of steel from Ground Zero at the La Quinta Civic Center Campus. La Quinta is the only city in the Coachella Valley to have an authentic piece of steel from the World Trade Center and Ground Zero.

After watching his son stay steadfast in his quest, Andrew’s father, Mike, was proud to see the day arrive.

“It’s hard to believe this day is here, that we’re able to do this and dedicate it to the community,” Mike Davis said.

Nearly 200 people attended Wednesday’s dedication, which doubled as Andrew’s Eagle Scout ceremony. The teen decided to take on the Sept. 11 memorial project as his service project to become an Eagle Scout.

The idea of a Sept. 11 memorial hit close to home for Andrew and his family. In 2001, Mike was in New York City on Sept. 10 working at the U.S. Open tennis tournament. Mike planned to stay another day to catch a play that night and visit the New York Stock Exchange on Sept. 11.

At the last minute, Mike decided to catch a redeye flight back to California instead.

“Even though Andrew was 6, he knew it affected our family,” Mike said.

The older Davis returned to New York City to volunteer at a subsequent U.S. Open, where he heard of a Boy Scout spearheading a similar memorial project.

He pitched the idea to his son, who embraced the idea as a way to memorialize the event for generations to come.

But because the Port Authority of New York would only release pieces of steel from Ground Zero to cities and counties, Andrew had to appeal to the La Quinta City Council.

From the beginning, Andrew said, the council supported his project.

“He wanted to do something in our city that would bring the reality of what happened to us so we would never forget,” La Quinta Mayor Don Adolph said. “We said, ‘Let’s do it.’”

In June 2011, the Port Authority approved La Quinta’s request for a piece of Ground Zero steel.

Robert Radi, who owns Radi Design, decided to become involved when he heard Andrew speak at a city council meeting. Radi’s fraternity brother, Thomas E. Bernett Jr., was one of four passengers who tried to regain control of Flight 93 during the Sept. 11 attacks.

Radi designed the memorial and paid to have the steel shipped to the desert.

Originally, Andrew estimated the entire project to cost around $20,000 and take a few months to complete. In the end, it became a $100,000 project spanning more than two years.

Andrew raised $14,000 by selling T-shirts, hosting fundraisers and asking for donations outside of stores. The city appropriated $33,000 to Davis’ project from the Arts in Public Places fund, and Andrew presented Mayor Adolph with a check for an additional $1,564.92 during the ceremony.

“Now, we can hope to balance our budget,” Mayor Adolph joked.

Add your comment:
Edit Module
Desert Guide
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Lagos Periodontics Grand Opening - Dec. 4, 2014

Dr. Rodrigo Lagos and his team are excited to announce the opening of our state of the art facility in “The Village University Park” on Cook Street and Gerald Ford.

Lance Bass, Michael Turchin Wedding has its Beginnings in Palm Springs

Lance Bass and Michael Turchin will tie the knot on Dec. 20 as part of a E! network TV special, but the romance began nearly four years ago in one of their favorite places to visit: Palm Springs.

Leeds & Son Fine Jewelers One Night Only Event - Dec. 11, 2014

Customers and guests shared in a fun-filled by invitation only event including shopping, holiday cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, new collections and special pricing throughout the store.

The Palm Springs Hotel Reflects History, Design of Yesteryear

The Palm Springs Hotel, a renovated 1950s property, is a striking mix of midcentury modern meets industrial chic with a bit of European flair. Think clean lines, ceramic tiles, and adorable Parisian inspired cafe tables.

MLB Umpire Dale Scott's "Coming Out" Has Palm Springs Connection

For Major League Baseball umpire and part-time Palm Springs resident Dale Scott, the phrase, "You're Out," has taken on a new meaning after recently revealing that he is gay.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions + Contests

Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.
Fashionista Friends

Fashionista Friends

Experience the glitz and glamour of Fashion Week El Paseo 2015.
2014/15 Best of the Best

2014/15 Best of the Best

Palm Springs Life’s annual Best of the Best. Readers tell us who their choice is for the “Best of the Best” of the Coachella Valley in over 40 categories.
Edit ModuleShow Tags