|Firefighters, law enforcement officers and other emergency service personnel take a knee after ringing the bell for victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks during last year's 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb at Red Hawk Casino. Democrat photo by Shelly Thorene
Red Hawk hosting 9/11 memorial climb
By Mackenzie Myers
In remembrance of lives lost almost two decades ago on Sept. 11,
2001, local first responders will don their gear and climb over 100 stories for
the second year in a row.
The 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb will take place outside the Red
Hawk Casino level 1 parking structure at 8 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 11. Sworn
emergency personnel such as firefighters, law enforcement officers and other
first responders will climb 110 stories all while wearing their full duty
uniforms — vests, belts, helmets, turnouts and all.
Spectators are welcome to attend. Kyle Nielsen, a firefighter
with Station 28 in Shingle Springs coordinating the event, has encouraged local
fire agencies to bring out their vehicles so the public can learn more about
firefighting and emergency response during the event.
Participants should arrive an hour early for registration at 7
a.m. Registration fees of $25 a person will be donated to Tuesday’s Children, a
nonprofit helping those affected by terrorism, including more than 15,000
individuals directly impacted by the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade
Center, according to the organization’s website.
Those interested in registering can contact Nielsen at
email@example.com. As of Thursday evening, Nielsen said about 20 people had
signed up to participate. Last year, there were between 60 and 70 climbers but Nielsen acknowledged it’s been a busy fire
season for many potential participants. Still, he’s hopeful the roster will grow
Casino spokeswoman Emily Cady said the 110 stories climbed
represents the floors of the original World Trade Center. Last year, the climb
took just over two hours for everyone to complete, according to Nielsen. The
climbers ascended to the top of the parking garage 15 times, each collecting an
entire suit of old casino cards one by one as a way to
keep track of progress. After the 15th lap, all participants gathered at the
bottom of the parking garage and climbed to the top a 16th time together,
rounding out the 110 floors.
At the top, Nielsen said, the climbers gather in a moment of
silence, ring a bell then take a breather.
There are stair climbs across the country on 9/11 but Nielsen,
along with the rest of the crew at Station 28, came up with the local event
last year. After realizing they all had to work on Sept. 11 but still wanted to
do something to memorialize the tragedy, Nielsen said this was a way to
incorporate their daily physical training in a way that remembers the lives lost.
According to the casino’s website, 11 local agencies are
involved, including El Dorado County Fire and fire departments in Diamond
Springs, Garden Valley, Georgetown, El Dorado Hills, Mosquito and Lake Tahoe,
as well as four law enforcement agencies: the Shingle
Springs Band of Miwok Indians Tribal Police, El Dorado County Sheriff, South
Lake Tahoe Police and Placerville Police.
Nielsen said at this point the event is open to first responders
or military members, either active or retired. Though members of the public
have expressed interest in running the stairs, Nielsen has had to “tactfully
explain” the incident-responder angle of the event and stressed that it’s not
meant to be exclusionary.
“It’s a very solemn opportunity for us to put ourselves in their
shoes and put [ourselves] through the physically demanding task that was asked
of those individuals who responded to the attacks on the twin towers,” Nielsen
said. “We’re honoring the choice they made: following through on the oath they
took as first responders.”
Red Hawk’s event posting included statistics of emergency
personnel lost in the 9/11 attacks: 343 firefighters and paramedics, 55
military personnel, 37 Port Authority officers, 23 New York Police Department
officers, 11 officers who died due to illness after the attacks and one police
officer on board United Flight 93.
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Printed in the
September 10, 2018 edition on page A1 |
Published on September 10, 2018 | Last Modified on September
7, 2018 at 10:56 am