SALEM, Va. – Huffing and puffing all the way through, hundreds of people took on a 110 flight climb at Salem Memorial Ballpark in honor of the New York firefighters who lost their lives on 9/11.
That’s how many New York firefighters lost their lives trying to save others on 9/11. To honor each of them, hundreds of people from near and far wore a picture of a fallen firefighter.
“What they did back then is hard to describe and hard to even fathom for us,” Kristen Perdue said. “But, this gives us an opportunity to honor those who are here now.”
110 is the number of flights firefighters needed to climb up the World Trade Center. To get a taste of that intensity, first responders, everyday people and even a K-9 signed up for the climb.
Andrew Saint Clair, a firefighter with the Salem Fire Department, has completed the monumental climb five times.
“It takes stamina,” he said. “Take one step at a time and [you have to] rely on your brothers and sisters around you. That’s what we do every day at work, so that’s what we do here.”
Step after step, participants hiked the full stadium stairs four times around. Some first responders even wearing full gear to feel the extra weight the fallen heroes had to endure.
Drenched in sweat, R.D. Ward was the first person to survive the challenge and ring a bell in honor of the firefighter he represented.
“You think about the men and women and what they sacrificed that day and all those who went to Afghanistan to serve and that’s why it’s important,” he said. “We can never forget.”
Even our 10 News anchor Brittany McGraw shouted a name in tribute.
More than $20,000 was raised and will support families of local fallen firefighters.