Norfolk Firefighters and residents took part in a 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb at the Norfolk Public Safety Training facility Monday evening. Many citizens and first responders take part in memorial stair climbs across the nation annually on September 11.
“We’re not doing 110 flights of stairs just to remember the 343 firefighters that lost their lives on that day, but to remember the many individuals that have suffered countless years after 9/11 due to the toxic environments they had to endure looking for buried bodies in the rubble,” said Ryan Goodman, President of Norfolk Professional Fire Firefighters Union Local 1005.
The Norfolk Fire Reserves started doing the stair climb at the training tower a few years ago, and this year Local 1005 wanted to help the reserves in providing a meal and recovery aids for the memorial climb, as well as fun activities, such as coloring and games.
“Each participant climbed 110 stories, the height of the World Trade Center towers. Those who participated at our event climbed the training tower 28 times, which puts us just over the 110 stories. Many department members have done the tower climb for several years, and in 2017 we put together a more formal gathering,” said Adam Sobotka, Vice President of Fire Reserves.
“Local 1005 occasionally sits down and has breakfast for the police officers. I think it was during a breakfast that I heard someone say something that was very profound to me regarding 9/11, ‘We now live in an era that people who are watching our backs on the street, or fighting fires with you, weren’t even born yet,’” said Goodman.
The hope is to expand the stair climb in the future to allow for many citizens to participate.