The Stair Climb

As mentioned in the previous post, I once again took part in the annual Denver Memorial Stair Climb. I was thrilled to be part of the few folks that organized the event and Friday was the culmination of many hours over many weeks of preparation. Five of us met at the Qwest building in Denver at 6am and did our climb early so we could work the event. The building is 55 stories tall (when you count the basement) and we climb it twice for a total of 110 stories, or the same height of the World Trade Center buildings.

The climb took us about 1 hour and 30 minutes and we wore all of our gear. Each year, we wear a picture of a FDNY firefighter that was killed and climb in their memory…since I am an organizer and get to choose, I once again climbed in memory of Ray Downey. It’s a very emotional and stirring climb. There are some amazing truths about what happened on 9/11 that you can only begin to discover when you participate in something like this.

We limit the climb to 343 firefighters (and the climb filled up in 7 days way back in July) since that was the number of brothers killed eight years ago. There is a picture below of everyone just before the climb began…take a minute to think about it….that’s what 343 firefighters look like. Just imagine the number of spouses, children, parents, brothers, and sisters left behind.

I ran Lobby Control this year, which is a position that has ultimate accountability for everyone entering the stairwell. Everyone has to check in with me before the first trip, before the second trip, and after they are done. It’s a great honor to be able to talk with every single firefighter that gets ready to enter the stairwell. This year we had firefighters from 5 different states and 48 different departments.

There are no pictures of me climbing…but there are several during the event (I am wearing the t-shirt that says “God Bless The Brothers From FDNY”). Photos were taken by my Dad and a photographer from the Boulder Daily Camera. In one of the photos you will see a piece of hose with names written on it. There was a firefighter from Arizona who came up and on that hose is the name of all 343 firefighters killed. Oh, there is also a nice video attached.



  1. Thanks, Oren, for your witness to remembrance. It brings tears to my eyes again. Having seen your post Thursday night, I kept hearing your words in my head on Friday. At lunch I commented that there was nothing on the cover of the post to remind people to pause and remember. I asked the ladies around the table about that day, and we had a stirring conversation about our memories of that day and the impact it has had on so many people. Thanks for your inspiration. loveyoumeanit…


  1. […] You can hear a little more about it from a Colorado Public Radio news story, my wrap on 2010 and 2009. This year’s event filled up in 66 […]

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