It was a bit of a soggy Saturday morning, but it didn’t stop more than 1,000 people from coming out to participate in the Tunnel to Towers race at Orleans Square in Savannah.
It was held in honor of firefighter Stephen Siller and the 343 firefighters and first responders in total, who lost their lives in the September 11th attacks.
News 3’s Courtney Cole spoke with local firefighters and other participants who say it’s important to keep these types of events going.
“It doesn’t matter where you’re from…it could be from another country–a fire fighter is always a brother or sister to another firefighter,” said Phillip Krause of the Jasper County Fire Department.
And that’s exactly why so many showed up to participate in the Tunnel to Towers race Saturday morning.
“We always want to support. We all know where we were on that day—when 9/11 happened—[and] to see our brothers then going into the towers with both fire, law enforcement and EMS going in,” said Randy Hunter of the Bluffton Township Fire District.
The race was created to commemorate Firefighter Stephen Siller.
He risked his life to save the lives of others on September 11th…
“That’s what being a firefighter is…it’s that selfless sacrifice…going out there, saving peoples’ lives…you don’t know who they are, you don’t care who they are, you just go out there, do your job,” Krause said.
Siller traveled through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel…hoping to rescue those trapped in the first twin tower, but he never made it out…
And although many didn’t know Siller personally, they felt it was their responsibility to participate in this race–some firefighters wearing their full uniforms.
“For me it was important to do it in my full gear because it shows additional respect,” said Krause.
“It kind of puts you closer, it’s more personal at that point. When you feel like slowing down–you push harder because you start thinking about all the people personally affected by it,” said William Dailey of Edgewater Fire Rescue in Florida.
Changed forever, but certainly not broken…
“September 11th was just huge as far as being a symbol for people being brave and doing things they normally wouldn’t do…for the sake of ..of loving people,” said race participant Michelle LaFleur.
For more information about Stephen Siller’s story or how you can donate to the Tunnel To Towers Stephen Siller Fund, click here: http://tunnel2towers.org/