The McAllen Fire Department is getting ready to climb the tallest building in the city. All in honor of the fallen heroes who died in the September 11th terrorist attacks.
Practice for the Fifth Annual McAllen Stair Climb has started at the Neuhaus Tower.
17-years later, firefighters and participants continue to pay tribute to all first responders who perished on 9/11. Event director Mark Zamora says he’s made a promise to never forget.
“As a firefighter it means a lot. I kind of feel obligated to do something for the 343 firefighters that perished. This is what we do to remember the fallen and to remember the day. It was such a tragic day for the nation.”
Participants will climb stairs seven and a half times, which is equivalent to the 110 flights from the World Trade Center”
“I’m a little winded, I thought I would do a lot better.” says participant, Adriana Muñoz. The air in the stairwell is very thin. That’s the reason I am wearing the vest as well so that I can feel at least ..you know they carried their gear as well. I wanted to make sure I added some weight to myself…. It’s pretty tough.”
Each participant will climb for a specific fallen hero. For the past three years Stephanie Garcia has been climbing for Engine 22 Firefighter Thomas Casoria who lost his life in the twin towers a month before his wedding.
“I know it’s very hard going up and down these stairs. It was a very hot building, he had all his gear, an elderly woman, and when the building collapsed it took from September till like May of the following year to retrieve his body because they were together for that long. They had to sift them apart, and it took that long for them to be able to bury him.”
A memorial ceremony will be held on Sunday, September 9th in the Neuhaus Tower for those who climbed, but weren’t able to come back down. The ceremony will be open to the public.
Participants who wish to climb can register online at www.mcallenstairclimb.com.