The California 9|11 Memorial was established for a simple, yet profound, purpose: To Never Forget.
The California 9-11 Memorial, located in Clovis, CA was built by Pelco and spearheaded by CEO David McDonald, as a permanent monument to honor and remember the 2,977 people killed during the most horrific terrorist attack in history. The site of the memorial was dedicated to the California 9-11 Memorial to ensure that the legacy started by David McDonald, and the promise to never forget, be realized for generations to come.
Every year at the memorial site, a group of committed citizens, first responders and military personnel perform a ceremony steeped in service traditions for the victims of September 11th. Honoring the brave spirit of those who sacrificed their lives to save others. This commemoration ceremony and dedicated monument is the largest of its kind outside of New York City.
The California 9-11 Memorial is proud to partner with the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools to promote and establish the One Voice event, a musical event which brings together students from local junior high and high schools as well as community members to sing in one unifying voice in honor of the brave. We are committed to engage all participating public safety agencies, community organizations and school district to promote community participation and remembrance.
The California 9-11 Memorial was officially established in 2019 and has applied for exemption as a 501 (c) 3 non-profit benefit organization.
The California 9-11 Memorial was organized to continue recognizing and honoring the civilians who were killed along with the fallen fire personnel, peace officers and military personnel and all first responders who died in the line of duty while attempting to preserve and save human lives during the tragic events that occurred on September 11, 2001
To become a real force in educating our community and our children of the lives lost and the selfless act of sacrifice, bravery and courage shown by those that were lost in service to others on September 11th.
WE WILL NEVER FORGET
For more information please contact
Executive Director Anna Borgeas
9|11 Memorial Founding Board Members
Chair: Dr. Kathryn Catania
Vice Chair: Julie DeBenedetto
Secretary: Heather Calandra
Treasurer: Aubrey Tejeda
Dr. Kathryn Catania – The California 9-11 Memorial Board Chair, Founding Member
Fresno County Superintendent of Schools Deputy Superintendent (Retd.)
Dr. Kathryn (Kitty) Catania is the retired Deputy Superintendent of Educational Services for the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools (FCSS). Dr. Catania joined the California 9-11 Memorial Board as a founding member. She spearheads the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools One Voice event, which organizes a student contest to educate students about the Sept. 11, 2001 event, including the sacrifices made by first responders and the spirit of diverse people the next day to come together to support a strong America. Dr. Catania’s commitment to Remember, Educate and Honor. She has been in education for over 34 years, serving as a teacher, principal, district administrator, and county office administrator. Kitty grew up on the westside of Fresno/Madera County on a family farm, worked in the Firebaugh-Las Deltas Unified School District for 17 years before coming to FCSS and was married for 42 years to her husband, a Vietnam Veteran. Dr. Catania has her Bachelor of Science in Business Management from California
Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, a Master in Educational Leadership from California State University Fresno, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Alliant International University
Julie DeBenedetto - The California 9-11 Memorial Board Vice Chair
Joining the Pelco organization in 2000, Julie DeBenedetto has a long standing history with the California 9-11 Memorial. Directly following the tragic events of September 11, 2001 Julie was on the project team responsible for the logistic and event program which brought over one thousand first responders from New York to the Valley for the California 9/11 Memorial Dedication Ceremony December 8, 2001. The intent was to offer time away from New York, to ease their pain, to reflect and honor and show gratitude from our united community. That tradition continued annually as a local community memorial and Julie is one of the last remaining participants who has been with the program since its inception. Julie has been with Pelco and now Schneider Electric for over two decades. In addition to serving as Vice Chair of the board for the California 9-11 Memorial, she has served on numerous community boards including Clovis Chamber of Commerce and currently Fresno County Office of Education Foundation, Board President and the American Red Cross, Board Member. Though she’s originally from Sacramento, CA Julie has
established strong roots in the Clovis community after marrying a long-time Clovis native. Together with her husband Steve, they have five children and nine grandchildren, and when the valley temperatures become intolerable, you’ll find her spending time in Shaver Lake with family and friends.
Jerry Cook - The California 9-11 Memorial Board Past Chair
Cook Land Company
Born and raised in Clovis, a graduate of Clovis High, five generations of the Cook family have or do reside in Clovis, California like Mr. Jerry Cook. Jerry holds a BA in Economics from the University of the Pacific and MBA with Honors from Pepperdine University. Married for 32 years to the late Suzanne Cook, together have two married sons and three grandchildren. As a Commissioned Officer in the Army National Guard, he retired as Captain in 1976. He then began as President and first employee of Grundfos Pumps Corporation in 1974 and retired as president after 23 years continuing to serve on the board until 2019. He has served as director on the Boards of Premier Valley Bank and Rain for Rent, International, headquartered in Bakersfield, CA. Currently he serves on the boards of Raley’s Grocery Stores based in West Sacramento and Community Medical Systems of Central California. Additionally, he has also successfully served on 10 other
family-owned or closely held private boards over the last 25 years, often as chair. As founding Board Chair of the CART– Center for Advanced Research and Technology, the Fresno Economic Development Corporation and the Foundation for Clovis Schools, Mr. Cook received Honorary Doctorate of Community Service from Clovis Unified Schools, Citizen of the Year for the City of Clovis, Pepperdine University Outstanding Alumnus, and received the first annual Raley’s Legacy Award. Cook is currently President and partner in a family owned business, Cook Land Company. Undoubtedly one of his greatest passions, Mr. Cook established the California 9-11 Memorial Board Foundation for one clear purpose: Honor, Educate and Remember.
Anna Borgeas – The California 9-11 Memorial Executive Director
A Fresno native, Anna Borgeas previously served as the Vice President and COO of the Fresno Chamber of Commerce and was responsible for all internal operations of the organization, including financial and employee management, overseeing ten annual events and nearly a dozen monthly programs and committees. Earlier, Anna served as the COO and Interim CEO of the Central Valley Business Incubator, which developed technology startups, and she created and managed the organization’s premier fundraising event; the Central Valley Stock Exchange. Anna also served as Government Relations Manager for the Workforce Investment Board and a financial underwriter for business and corporate loans for San Diego National Bank and Chevy Chase Bank. Anna graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz as a double major in Economics and History. She earned her MBA from California State University, Fresno where she was awarded the Dean’s Medal. Anna also served as a Professional Development Fellow in Armenia researching economic development opportunities for the nascent former Soviet nation. In her spare time she loves creating memories with her family, gardening and traveling. She is married to California State Senator, Andreas Borgeas, and has two young boys.
Heather Calandra – The California 9-11 Memorial Board Secretary
Heather Calandra has spent the greater part of her life in the Clovis/Fresno community. A graduate of California State University Fresno, she has been with Pelco and now Schneider Electric in marketing for more than thirteen years. For the past decade, Heather has served on the 9/11 Committee taking the lead on communication and logistics dedicating her time and passion to help organize the annual September 11th Memorial Ceremony and serves as The California 9-11 Memorial Board Secretary. In addition to working full time and being a wife and mother of two, Heather has volunteered and supported many nonprofit organizations such as Toys for Tots, Mission 500, FCOE Special Education Kids Day, the Leukemia Lymphoma Society and the American Red Cross
Aubrey Tejeda – The California 9-11 Memorial Board Treasurer
Baerg & Associates, Certified Public Accountant
As a California State University, Fresno alumni, Aubrey Tejeda earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, with an emphasis in Accounting, which brought her to Baerg & Associates, CPAs, LLP. As a founding member of The California 9-11 Memorial, Aubrey is Board Treasurer and was instrumental in obtaining the nonprofit’s 501(c)(3) federal tax exemption. Prior to graduating, she was involved in CSUF campus philanthropic organizations through Beta Alpha Psi, volunteering with Habitat for Humanity and the United Way. With strong family military ties, Aubrey recalls being in high school on the tragic events of 9/11. Now a wife and mother, Aubrey’s position on the board provides value in keeping financial organization and also a perspective on the importance of educating generations of youth on the significance of the tragic events.
Randi Carter – The California 9-11 Memorial Board, Founding Member
Cook Land Development, Office Manager
Originally from Reedley, CA Randi Carter came to Fresno fifteen years ago. Randi is a Founding Board Member for the California 9-11 Memorial and has been instrumental in the planning of the annual ceremony for the past two years. As the Portfolio and Acquisitions Manager for Cook Land Development, Randi has been heavily involved in the California Memorial expansion project and is Co-Chair of the Publicity Committee and works with the Logistics Committee for The California 9/11 Memorial. In addition to being a mom to her extremely active13-year old son, she also has obtained her real estate license. Randi is passionate about educating the community and todays youth on the tragic events of September 11, 2001.
Reno Coletti - The California 9-11 Memorial Founding Member
Cook Land Development, Chief Operating Officer
Reno Coletti has been involved in the construction industry since 1980 and a general contractor since 1989. He is Chief Operating Officer at Cook Land Development. Reno is experienced in the full range of project services for the design and construction of commercial, retail and industrial projects, from initial feasibility through completion and occupancy. He’s a member of member of Central California Builders Exchange and the National Kitchen and Bath Association. With extensive experience as a tradesman, superintendent and project manager, Reno was imperative to the California 9/11 Memorial Expansion project. Reno’s vision for and passion for the Memorial is reflected in the incredible detail put into every element. Reno has served on several youth group boards and joins the California 9-11 Memorial as a founding member.
Todd Cook – The California 9-11 Memorial Board Chair-Elect, Founding Member
Cook Land Company
Todd Cook joins the California 9-11 Memorial 501c3 nonprofit organization as a founding member. Todd has a long-standing history of philanthropic activities in the Clovis and Fresno communities. Todd is a member of the Marjaree Mason Center board, part of the Clovis Unified School Foundation, and heavily involved with CART – Center for Advanced Research and Technology. Additionally, he participates in Clovis Exchange Club, Clovis General Plan Update Committee, W.O.W. Fresno and the Miss Clovis Scholarship program.
Andy Isolano – The California 9-11 Memorial Founding Board Member
North Central Fire Protection District
California 9-11 Memorial Founding Board Member Andy Isolano is a former New York City firefighter who can be counted among the brave heroes who answered the call on 9/11/01. He grew up in Long Island NY and was in Advertising until his long-awaited call from FDNY came. He spent 11 years working in Ladder 108 in Brooklyn where he responded from on 9-11. After months working at ground zero, Isolano was invited along with 1,100 other first responders to Clovis, CA by the late Mr. David McDonald – Pelco’s owner and original builder of the California 9/11 Memorial. The occasion, the first California 9-11 Memorial Dedication and what would ultimately become the annual September 11th Memorial Ceremony.
A trip that undoubtedly changed his life. Isolano, who was medically retired due to lung damage caused from months of searching for his friends at ground zero, had his faith in humanity restored by the small-town unity he experienced here. He relocated and made the valley his permanent home in 2004. He met his wife, Michelle who is a Madera native, and has been married for ten years. Together they have 4 children, Andrew Jr., Courtney, Christopher and Trent. Isolano worked for Clovis Fire Department for 9 years and now for the North Central Fire Protection District.
Jim Olson – The California 9-11 Memorial Board Founding Member
Fresno District Attorney
Olson has been involved with the California 9-11 Memorial since its inception in 2001 and is a California 9-11 Memorial founding board member. He served eight years in the United States Marine Corps from 1965 to 1973, and served in Viet Nam in 1967 and 1968. Olson was with the Fresno Police Department for 30 years, from 1977 to 2007 and was Instrumental in forming the Fresno Police Department Honor Guard & Color Guard. Olson was also instrumental in forming the Fresno County Peace Officers Memorial Foundation in 1997, which broke ground on May 12, 1998, in the Fresno County Courthouse Park. Olson became President in 2003 and has held that honor to this day. The Memorial honors those law enforcement officers that paid the ultimate sacrifice protecting the citizens of Fresno County. He’s now Senior District Attorney Investigator with the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office. Assignments included Multi Agency Gang Enforcement Consortium (M.A.G.E.C.); Juvenile Crimes Unit; and is presently assigned to the Fresno
County Health Department with the Environmental Health Unit. He and his wife have two children, their daughter is a detective with the Fresno Police Department; four grandsons, one of which served over 4 years with the Marine Corps, and another who was involved with the ROTC program at school and has joined the Marines.
Lorenzo Rios – The California 9-11 Memorial Founding Member
Clovis Veterans Memorial District, Chief Executive Officer
Lorenzo Rios a California 9-11 Memorial founding member. As CEO of the Clovis Veterans Memorial District, Rios works closely with Central Valley veteran organizations to instill a collaborative spirit among the various groups. Rios retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Unites States Army in 2015 after a distinguished 23-year active duty military career where he led troops overseas in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan. He earned two bronze stars for combat leadership. He is dedicated to the enhancement of the community through active involvement in his church, local school districts, boys and girl scouts, service organizations, and veteran organizations
Jim Stemler – The California 9-11 Memorial Board Founding Member
Captain, Clovis Fire Department (Retd.)
Captain Stemler is a California 9-11 Memorial founding board member who has been an instrumental lead for the annual memorial since its inception in 2001. Originally from Galt, CA Captain Stemler spent four years in the United States Air Force until a career opportunity brought him to the Fresno/Clovis area. He has since spent a combined thirty-six years with the fire service, most of which have been with the Clovis Fire Department. Captain Stemler is now retired with 37 years of combined service. On September 11, 2001 Captain Stemler oversaw the Clovis Fire Department Honor Guard and was asked to coordinate the efforts to bring together all public safety and military agencies to establish a Combined Command. It was notably the first time all service agencies came together, united for such a monumental effort and has remained a tradition for over two decades. A certified fire investigator, Jim owns Stemler Fire Investigations. He has six daughters and three grandchildren.
Curt Fleming - The California 9-11 Memorial Board, Founding Member
Clovis Police Department, Chief of Police
Curt Fleming, former captain with the CPD has been with the department for 13 years after moving from the Fresno Police Department in 2006. He was later promoted to corporal in 2012, to sergeant in 2013, followed by lieutenant in 2015, and captain in 2018. He went to Bullard High School and later graduated from Fresno State with a Bachelor of Science in criminology and a Master of Science in criminology. In 2018, Fleming graduated from POST Command College after 18 months with enhanced knowledge in preparing for emerging issues in the industry, forward-strategic thinking and managing the future. He joins The California 9-11 Memorial Board as a Founding Member.
Jeff Pape - The California 9-11 Memorial Legal Council
Law Office of Jeffrey B. Pape, P.C.
Jeffrey B. Pape is a certified tax law specialist located in Clovis, CA. Mr. Pape’s statewide practice focuses on representation of business entities, trusts and estates, and litigation. He is a 1982 graduate of the University of Iowa College of Law. He obtained his LLM Taxation degree from McGeorge School of Law in 1993
Dr. Michele Cantwell Copher - The California 9-11 Memorial Board Member
FCSS Assistant Superintendent of Educational Leadership and Development
Dr. Michele Cantwell-Copher has been an educator for more than 30 years and in her current capacity with the Office of the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools (FCSS), she serves as the Assistant Superintendent of Educational Leadership and Development, inclusive of the role of Executive Director of The Foundation @ FCOE. Under Dr. Copher’s direction, FCSS is building partnerships with business, nonprofit and civic groups that lead to better educational and health outcomes for students. Dr. Copher is active in the community, serving on numerous boards and volunteering at Valley Children’s Hospital; and she has been recognized as a Top 10 Business Woman of the Year. She is married to her husband John, a Correctional Lieutenant with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department and together they have two children, Claire, a second year law school student at McGeorge School of Law, and Quaid, serving at the United States Navel Academy.