First Ever Stair-Climb Benefit At One World Trade Center To Be Held In May

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The first ever stair-climb benefit event at One World Trade Center will be held on May 17, two foundations formed after the Sept. 11 terror attacks announced Monday.

The event will raise money to build homes for catastrophically wounded service members and for the education of children who have lost parents in war.

The announcement by the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation and the Captain Billy Burke Foundation was made at Burke’s firehouse, Engine Company 21 in midtown Manhattan. Burke lost his life on 9/11 along with Firefighter Stephen Siller from Squad 1 in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Siller was off-duty when he ran with over 60 pounds of gear through the blocked-off Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the World Trade Center.

“It’s just so important to us that we’re going to have the first ever stair climb in One World Trade Center,” his brother Frank Siller, foundation chairman and CEO, told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell before the announcement. “We want people from all over the United States to come and do it.”

Even though he knew that the south tower had already fallen, Burke chose to remain behind to rescue two workers, one in a wheelchair.

“Billy would be humbled and grateful to know that in his memory funds are going to be raised to assist military heroes” and their children, said his brother Michael Burke, a foundation board member.

Climbers will go to the 90th floor — 180 flights of stairs.

Burke asks that his brother’s words be an inspiration to participants.

“As they’re climbing flight after flight going up to the 20th, 30th, 40th, 60th, 70th floor and their knees are killing them, their back is killing them just think of the words of Captain William F. Burke, Jr. on Sept. 11 to his men: ‘Keep going, I’m right behind you,'” he said.

Siller said when you get to the top of the building the view is worth the effort.

“You could see forever, you’re on top of the world,” Siller said.

There’s also a “virtual stair climb” — using elevators — for people who want to participate but are not able to handle the stairs.

Participation is limited to the first 1,000 to register. Registration will close on May 10 or when capacity is reached.

The entry fee for all climbers, including virtual climbers, is $100. There’s also a $250 minimum fundraising requirement.

To register, click here.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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