BENEFITING: Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation
EVENT: New York City 2014
EVENT DATE: Sep 28, 2014
The Tunnel to Towers 5k Run/Walk in NYC is part of the Steven Siller Foundation to support injured military and emergency personnel across the country. This 5k race was created to trace the path of Stephen Siller, a FDNY firefighter who had just finished his shift in Brooklyn, was on his way home, when the first tower of the World Trade Center was struck on September 11, 2001. He immediately returned to the firehouse to pick up his gear and tried to get to the Towers to assist, but the roads and tunnels were already closed. He then strapped on 60 pounds of gear and ran from the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the World Trade Center to help, but gave his life when the Towers came down.
The FDNY is close to my heart. My dad worked for EMS and then FDNY and is now retired. His coworkers have become close family friends. I have other family and friends who are/were FDNY members and military personel. In September 2001, I was away at college in western Pensylvania. I happened to pass a tv when coming out of breakfast, on my way to chapel, when I found out what was happening. I was in total shock and went numb. The phone lines were all completely busy, and I couldn't get through to any of my family on Long Island. For some reason, I went to my Biology class, I guess not really knowing what to do with myself. After class, I came back to the dining hall to watch the tv and found out the Towers had come down. My heart sank to my stomach. It is a feeling I will never forget. In that moment, not knowing where my dad was, I knew he would have been there. Finally, I was able to get through to my grandparents. They were so glad to hear from me, making sure I was ok, but didn't realize I didn't know what was going on at home. That day, my dad had stayed home from work to take my brother to an important doctors appointment. He was never able to even make it into the city. After a few minutes of chit chat with my grandparents, I finally got the nerve to ask where Dad was. They immediately reassured me he was home and safe, not realizing I had no idea. The flood of relief rushed over me. I then found out that 1 of his coworkers was unaccounted for, and was scheduled to be in the area doing inspections that day. He was able to make it to safety, but was unable to make contact for hours. I later found out that my cousin, a paramedic with FDNY, was at work that day, and was on his way to the Towers when they were stopped by a man having a heart attack. Because they made that stop, they did not get to the Towers until after they came down.
Many people run this race for those that were lost on that horrific day. I run for those who made it home. I know the feeling of not knowing where your family is and if they are safe. But I am grateful that they all came home safely.
I am a new runner, and I have been working hard to train for this race since May. My goal is for this race to be my first completed 5k, running the whole race. The FDNY is close to home for me, and I am honored to run for such a great cause. I hope you choose to support this foundation, and the military and emergency personnel it supports, in any way you can.
For more information on the Stephen Siller Foundation, please visit tunnel2towers.org