NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Firefighters from around the country gathered Saturday to honor their own.
The inaugural National Stair Climb for Fallen Firefighters was held at Citi Field in Queens.
As CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported, the firefighters suited up, but they weren’t there to put out any flames.
“We just want to show solidarity that, you know, we don’t forget,’ Mike Shugrue said.
Participants climbed more than 2,200 steps, symbolizing the 110 stories that FDNY firefighters climbed in the World Trade Center during the 9/11 attacks.
As WCBS Sophia Hall reported, when the participants completed the climb they headed to the Bell, where they read the names of the fallen firefighters.
Ron Siarnicki, with the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, said the event not only honored the fighters who died on 9/11, but also firefighters who were lost in tragedies all across the country.
FDNY Lt. Nancy Gwillym said it was an emotional day.
“Especially when they started reading the names, that was a little rough,” she said.
Haydee Lillo lost her paramedic husband on 9/11, along with many of her coworkers. She joined about 550 people who made the climb on Saturday.
“We’re here to walk for my late husband Carlos Lillo,” she said.
The FDNY bagpipes helped kick off the event, as did country music star Kix Brooks.
“I think it’s good for us to continuously remind ourselves to count these steps, over 2,000, what they had to deal with that day is just a reminder to use how important this is and what these guys and girls put on the line every day,” he said.
The FDNY and National Fallen Firefighters Foundation organized the stair climb to honor those killed in the attacks and other fallen firefighters across the country.
“Our mission is really to help people recover after having that tragic loss of a loved one,” Siarnicki said.
Proceeds will benefit the foundation’s work as well as the FDNY’s counseling unit which FDNY widow Joan York said is an invaluable resource.
“They were just a lifeline, really, just getting us back on track and through the worst experience of our lives,” she said.
The $150,000 raised at the event will help families who lost loved ones received needed counseling.