Twelve years ago today, 343 firefighters rushed into the World Trade Center and heroically lost their lives for the sake of helping others.
On Sunday, 343 firefighters, including six from the Fort Leonard Wood Fire Department, strapped on 50 pounds of gear and and climbed 110 flights of stairs in memory of those who risked their lives that day.
Travis Barnes, Edward Parker, Derrick Smith, Jimmie Jackson, Michael Copely, and Matthew Thompkins of the Fort Leonard Wood Fire Department participated in the Kansas City 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb at the Town Pavilion downtown. This is the third year Kansas City has held the event. Money raised at the event goes toward fallen firefighters.
Each firefighter wore a special lanyard around his or her neck with the photo and name of a firefighter who had passed on 9/11.
Matthew Thompkins, Fort Leonard Wood firefighter, climbed for 43-year-old New York Firefighter Lt. Timothy Higgins. According to Newsday, Higgins left behind a wife and three children.
Thompkins said that climbing the 110 flights of stairs was incredible grueling.He said it took them around one hour and 40 minutes.
"The climb is a lot harder than it looks," Thompkins said. "It really takes teamwork. You really want to quit at times and you need your team/ coworkers/ brothers to help you get through that climb. It was for something bigger than you."
At the top of the last flight of stairs, each firefighter rang a bell to mark the memory of the firefighter he or she climbed for.
"When you ring the bell you just get this sense of accomplishment, he said. "It was such an accomplishment to honor those guys."