Yesterday I got to participate in the 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb in Richmond Va. This was the 4th annual here in Richmond, and my 5th climb overall (4 in Richmond and 1 at FDIC 2014).
This year I got to Climb for Firefighter Kenneth Kumpel Ladder 25
This year I again participated while I was on duty with the members of my shift. My wife Karen as she always does joined me on the climb, and I also got to share the stairs with some new comers My cousins Susie and Laurie, and Laurie’s fiancé Chris who is a Firefighter for Spotsylvania County
This climb like all others brought forth significant challenges. I climbed again in full gear and SCBA (not on air). The climb changed a bit this year as two stairwells where open which kept some of the congestion down. However this year there where no break floors, as in the past. This year once you committed to the stairs you had to go all the way up. Sure you could stop on a landing but the air-conditioned break areas of the past where no longer available. This made the climb more difficult at least for me, and I had to drape my coat over my SCBA over my bottle for the last 3 trips up the stairs. While this was a tougher climb it was one of the best ever as far as participation from the area, and I was proud that every one of the 343 was represented and honored by making it to the top.
I was also thankful that my boy’s where able to be there to cheer their mom and I on and greet us once we were done.
This always makes me happy to see them, and a little sad as I know that the brothers who died on 9-11 never got to see their families after they made their climb. I do not take that fact for granted and am humbled every time I get to come home from the firehouse after a shift. One thing I do take solace in is that there will always be the next generation coming behind us willing to make the same sacrifices
I would be remise If I did not give a huge shout out to the City of Richmond Fire Department who once again coordinated the climb. They get the VCU Pep band, pipes and drums, fire trucks, sponsors, food, drinks, etc. and they make the climb better every year.
Read about my other stair climbs here:
I also can’t express enough how much EVERYONE needs to participate in one of these. It is rewarding on multiple levels, and the money goes to a great cause! Even if you can’t climb, donate your money, give your tag to someone else and let them make the climb for you, then stay and watch all of the 343 names get shouted out and the bell rung. It is a life changing experience to just witness.
I know one thing is certain this will not be my last climb, and I will never forget!
As usual thanks for reading, spread the word, and STAY SAFE!