When he moved to Las Vegas in 2004, Vehlies made a habit of visiting the tribute wall in front of the New York-New York on the Strip. He would scan the granite display, reading messages left as tribute in front of the hotel in the days after 9/11, searching for names he knew. He found several.
It was not lost on him that he -- a native New Yorker and volunteer firefighter who was across the street from the World Trade Center on the day that terrorists attacked the United States -- visited a themed casino seeking a connection to his friends and his home.
But, to him, the harbor with its tugboat, Statue of Liberty replica and permanent 9/11 display, represented a little piece of New York.
"It's good that it's there. It's something that's needed," Vehlies says. "I think New York-New York did the right thing by keeping it there."