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Firefighters honored during 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb in OC

(Oct. 25, 2013) Ocean City will host its inaugural 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb to honor the 343 firefighters who lost their lives in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks tomorrow, Saturday, Oct. 26 at the Pyramid Condominium in Ocean City.

Participants will climb the Pyramid’s stairs more than five times for a total of 110 stories — the number of floors in the Twin Towers — while each carries a picture of a fallen firefighter.

“You are completing the event for him,” said James L. Jester, President of the Delmarva Emerald Society, co-sponsor of the event.

The stair climb is open to anyone in the community — firefighters, police and civilians — and will raise money for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF), which leads efforts to honor fallen firefighters and assist their families and coworkers.

“The tragedy of Sept.11 was the single largest loss of firefighters in our nation’s history,” said Chief Ron Siarnicki, executive director of the NFFF. “The 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb is an opportunity for anyone in the community to demonstrate respect and admiration for these courageous men.”

The climbers in Ocean City join a nationwide effort to remember 9/11’s fallen heroes, which began in Colorado in 2005 when five firefighters convened at a high-rise building in downtown Denver to climb 110 flights of stairs in memory of their brothers who died in the 9/11 attacks.

The following year, 12 firefighters participated, and the event grew until it was capped at 343 participants in 2008. As of last week, the Ocean City event had 31 participants confirmed.

“I’m hoping that number will double,” Jester said.

To find the right location to bring the stair climb to Ocean City, the Delmarva Emerald Society e-mailed Susan Jones of the Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association and asked her to send the request to her members.

“Within a day or two at the most of that email going out, the manager… of the Pyramid was one of the very first ones to call us,” Jester said. “They were on board from the very beginning.”

The stair climb is open to anyone, and members of the community are invited to participate not only as climbers, but also as volunteers or donors.

The event is not a race, but an opportunity to honor the fallen firefighters.

Registration for the Ocean City 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb costs $25, with all funds benefiting the FDNY Counseling Unit, which has partnered with the NFFF to offer peer counseling and resources to the survivors of fallen firefighters.

Visit www.9-11stairclimb.com/events.html to register, or come early to the event to sign up. All participants will receive a photo ID of one of the fallen firefighters of Sept. 11. Check-in begins at 8:30 am.

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