Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Tokens of remembrance

Man collects a quarter for each victim lost at World Trade Center
by:  VERN UYETAKE It took West Linn’s Paul Dempsey 10 years to collect 2,753 New York state quarters in honor of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2011 terrorist attacks. And now that his collection is complete, Dempsey said he will donate the money to a cause in West Linn.

Assembling a large collection of small tokens of remembrance, West Linn resident Paul Dempsey has collected 2,753 New York state quarters in honor of the New York victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks; a quarter for everyone who lost their lives at the World Trade Center.

Dempsey, who has lived in West Linn for eight years, said the collection is his own personal means of remembering that day.

'It was a simple memorial of mine,' he said. 'I didn't want to make too big of a deal out of it, but it was a sad day, and I felt I needed to do something'

Dempsey, then a Gladstone resident, said he was working for a company based in New York at the time.

'I had to call them to actually ask them if this was actually really happening. It just seemed so surreal,' he said.

'(It) was probably the saddest day of my life. I didn't lose anybody. I didn't know anybody that lost anybody, but it shook me to my soul.'

So, over the last 10 years, Dempsey has put away every New York state quarter he's come across.

At times, the process was hit and miss, he said.

'There'd be days that I'd get none. There'd be weeks when I'd get none,' he said.

But he had help from all ends of the West Linn community.

'The Willamette Coffee Shop was looking for quarters in their change for me,' he said. 'Every time they'd find one they'd put it in a bag for me, and I'd pick it up every time I'd