As a career firefighter, the horrific events of 9/11 have always had an extreme effect on me. Not only was it by far the deadliest day in Fire Service history, but it was a day that changed America and the world forever.
Consequently, when it came time to participate in a 10th Anniversary Memorial Stairclimb in honor of the 343 FDNY firefighters killed that day, I was indeed honored to climb in memory of Firefighter Ronnie Gies, Squad 288.
After my participation in the Memorial Stairclimb I continued to climb in order to try and remain fit due to the physicality of my job. As emotional, yet inspiring, as that Memorial climb was, I was convinced there was more that I needed to do. As I spent countless hours in the stairwell, my mind was continually bombarded by thoughts of those brave men, their tremendous and selfless sacrifice, and the heartbreak felt by their families, friends, and fellow firefighters. It haunted me so much, that I realized there had to be something I could do before I retire, to demonstrate my respect and admiration for their bravery and dedication.
One day, it suddenly occurred to me "I had climbed in honor of one of those men, why shouldn't I climb for each and every one of them".
And so, on October 21st, 2012 I began my quest to do just that. Once again, I climbed for Ronnie Gies, climbing 133 stories with his photo hanging from around my neck, and I have been climbing ever since. Not only will I climb a minimum of 110 stories for all 343 hero's and brother's (I am actually averaging 147 stories per climb), but I promise to "Never Forget", and to complete a permanent and lasting Memorial Display in their honor, so that others will have the opportunity to see the faces, and read the names, of those incredible men.
This was the start of my "Never Forget 343 Stairclimb Memoriam", and I have literally lived and breathed it every day of my life since. I will complete my journey on Memorial Day-2015. In the end, I will have climbed in excess of 50,000 stories, and over 1 million vertical steps.
It has been an exhausting, but inspiring journey thus far, and one I am so proud to have had the opportunity to take. My hope is that my family, friends, and brothers and sisters in the Fire Service will follow and support me to the end, and if they see fit, donate to this Memorial, so that I can make this effort a special and lasting event so that all of us will "Never Forget".
Thank you for your time in learning about and hopefully following my journey to the end.
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