The 2010 event was as good as ever. This year we partnered up with the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation to donate all of our registration fees to their efforts to support the families and firefighters that are staring directly at the results of working at Ground Zero for so many months. 343 brothers gave up their lives on the morning of Sept 11, but thousands more are in jeopardy of doing to same over the course of the next couple of decades. Over 200 have already been officially diagnosed with 9/11 related lung diseases, and more than 2000 more are in the monitoring program. All of the money that we were able to raise (along with climbs in Florida, Tennessee, Red Rocks, Breckenridge, California, Seattle, Oregon) are going to be earmarked for those efforts.
Back to this year’s climb….343 firefighters from 4 states joined us in the basement of the Qwest building in downtown Denver to remember the FDNY brothers that were killed. This year’s event filled up in just under 13 hours after the registration opened. It’s always an extremely emotional time when all of the firefighters are gathered together in the loading dock just before we start the climb – because it’s hard to understand the magnitude of the loss until you see what 343 firefighters look like. Then you start thinking about the number of spouses, parents, siblings, and children that those guys left behind – and it really hits you. Ahna and Ezra were able to join for us for the kick-off to the climb this year, because for the first time it was on a weekend.
The climb went very, very well…it’s getting a little easier each year as the climbers are getting in better and better shape, and understanding the flow of the event more directly. From start to finish, it took just about 3 hours. Each of the climbers was wearing full gear, a SCBA, and a hose pack or tool. They all did the 55 stories of the building twice – to total 110 stories, or the same height as the World Trade Center. Each firefighter is also given a photo of a FDNY firefighter to carry with them. We ask that following the climb, they contact the firefighter’s family for whom they climbed and let them know that we don’t forget. I have already heard several stories of contacts being made after this year’s climb, and it is perhaps the most rewarding part of the whole event.
It’s a great thing….maybe the best thing that I do as a member of the fire service. I am so proud to be part of it and honored to help organize it each year. Watching it grow across the country, with a goal of 50-100 similar climbs nationwide next year for the 10th anniversary, has been awesome.
Here are some photos of the climb. We had 4 professional photographers join us and donate their time, effort, and photographs to the climb (that’s me at the command board – I run Lobby Control/Accountability). These are some of the results (we have only gotten looks at photos from two of them at this point).