The story below is from our September/October 2015 issue. For the DIGITALLY ENHANCED VERSION, download our FREE iOS app or view our digital edition for FREE today!
To honor the 343 firemen who lost their lives in the September 11th terrorist attacks, Roanoke Fire-EMS and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation will host a memorial stair climb on September 12.
The first stair climb was held on September 11, 2005 in downtown Denver, where five Colorado firefighters gathered to climb 110 flights of stairs. Today memorial stair climbs are held across the country.
“The idea for the climb here in Roanoke started after several members of the department attended climbs in other areas,” says Rob Reid, first lieutenant of Roanoke Fire-EMS. “We hope that the climb will draw folks to the valley. Ideallly we would love to have each of the 343 names carried by a fire service member.”
The memorial climb, which will take place at the Wells Fargo Tower in downtown Roanoke, is open to the public, and all proceeds will go to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation to provide assistance to the surviving families and co-workers of fallen firefighters.
“Roanoke Fire-EMS is a leader in the fire service for Southwest Virginia,” says Reid. “We try to lead by example in every aspect of the job. We also pride ourselves on tradition. Paying respect to not only those lost on 9/11 but all members of the fire service lost in the line of duty is one of those traditions.”
The climb is not a timed race, and several participants will be climbing the 110 flights of stairs in turnout gear and SCBA—protective suit and breathing apparatus—paying tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“FDNY and its members are looked upon across the country as the best of the best,” says Reid. “Members lost went up while everyone else went down. Honoring and paying respect each year to them by finishing their climb is the very least we can do.”