Annual memorial stair climb exceeds last year's fundraising
JEFFERSON CITY - The State Fire Marshal's 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb on Saturday raised an estimated $14,000, organizers said.
This was the fundraiser's second year. It raised more than $4,000 more than last year.
Firefighters and supporters came from across the state to climb a total of 2,600 stairs in honor of fallen firefighters.
Proceeds from the event will go toward the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation, which supports the family members of fallen firefighters.
Participants wore lanyards with the names of the some of the 343 firefighters who lost their lives during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Jim Pasley, the assistant fire marshal with the Columbia Fire Department, said this was a very humbling experience.
"You walk up the stairs and all the stairs are lined with all of those who perished that day. So as you're walking up, you're reminding yourself that the lanyards that you are wearing and the pictures that you see in the hallway are people that perished that day," Pasley said. "So, it's us honoring them, the sacrifice that we all talk about, that we hope we never make, but they actually did. So, it's out of respect for those that lost their lives."
Pasley said he hopes with events like the stair climb, the conversation about the sacrifice the firefighters made on 9/11 will never end.
"For us, this is our connection to make sure that the common citizen doesn't forget," he said. "We want this to stay in people's minds"
Kim Fitzsimmons, a former firefighter, said she started the event because it means so much to her and her fellow firefighters.
"We remember what our brothers that day went through. We remember what they gave up. We remember that they gave their last breath fighting for strangers that they didn't know and fighting for what they believed in," she said.