CLAYTON, Mo. – The Clayton Fire Department Memorial 9/11 Stair Climb took place at Enterprise Center Sunday morning.
The event pays tribute to the fallen heroes of Sept. 11, 2001.
Each person taking part in the climb walked the 2,220 steps at the venue, which is equivalent to the 110 stories of the World Trade Center Towers. It’s all to commemorate and honor the selflessness of the 343 members of the New York Fire Department who lost their lives that day.
“Everybody’s carrying a badge that has a name of one of the firefighters,” Charlie Coghill, Clayton Fire Department, said. “It’s kind of our tribute to them that every other firefighter, even across the country, wherever these kinds of events are taking place, they’re trying to walk in their same shoes and try to honor them in that way.”
Abby Stolte and Amy Heggemeyer are both married to firefighters with the Clayton Fire Department.
“It’s a small, small gesture that we can do to support them and their families and our fire families,” Heggemeyer said.
The first group to finish got done with the climb in a little over 30 minutes. But it’s less of a race and more about reflecting and taking one step at a time. At the end of the climb each participant read the name on their badge(s) and rang a bell to pay tribute.
“It’s a somber, sad moment, but it feels good to do this and pay respect to them,” Heggemeyer said.
Seventh-grader Lindley Mara wasn’t even born when 9/11 happened. Her parents work for the Poplar Bluff Fire Department.
“My mom and dad are here to support the firefighters from 9/11,” she said. “Watching and hearing people talk about it, it must’ve been scary for the people that were stuck in that building, not knowing what to do and knowing that they don’t know if they’re gonna make it out or not.”
More than 200 people registered for the event, and they collectively raised more than $30,000. That money benefits the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and Supporting Heroes.
“It’s incredibly humbling just to see all the support that we have, around just the St. Louis area and beyond,” Coghill said.