KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) – Nearly 400 people put on their climbing shoes in Kingsport to honor the 343 firefighters lost on September, 11, 2001.
Organizers tell us that this year’s turnout is the biggest in the event’s four year history.
Firefighters, police, first responders and citizens came together with one goal.
That goal – to honor and remember the firefighters who died on September 11 by climbing 110 stories at Holston Valley Medical Center – symbolizing the height of the towers.
“Every year, the emotions never seem to fade even 17 years later, it’s just as astounding as it was then,” Co-coordinator of the stair climb and Kingsport Fire Department Captain Jared Lindholm said.
Each climber – wearing a pin with a firefighter’s photo and name on it. Their faces also lined the stairwell.
“As those people come out of that terrorist attack, down those stairs, EMS, fire, police were all rushing in to save those lives. Very good event here today to remember those who sacrificed the ultimate sacrifice,” Sullivan County Sheriff Jeff Cassidy said.
After the 110 stories – each person rang a bell saying the name of their firefighter.
Local first responders who’ve died were also recognized.
21-year-old Christopher Brooks’ family, friends and fellow Sullivan County Volunteer Fire Department firefighters climbed in his memory.
“Being a firefighter was like really important to him. He was so excited. Every time he’d come home he’d tell me all about it. I wouldn’t have it any other way then to have done this for him,” Christopher’s wife Jessica Brooks said.
Organizers expect to have raised over $30,000 through registrations fees and donations – the most they’ve ever raised.
That money will go to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.