Wayne Township Volunteer Fire Rescue recently completed its fifth year in the 2019 Columbus 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb and was recognized for having the largest team, as well as raising the most funds for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF).
The memorial stair climb took place on Sunday at Chase Tower, located at 100 East Broad St. in downtown Columbus. Participants for the memorial come from all over Ohio and from surrounding states to begin the climb at 9 a.m. and finish at approximately noon.
According to the online event page, registration for “virtual climbers” (for those not climbing but willing to donate) was $30 while same-day registration for climbers was $40.
“The funds raised will benefit the FDNY Counseling Services Unit and the programs provided by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) to support the families of our nation’s fallen firefighters,” explained Wayne Township Fire Department Chief Chris Wysong in an emailed press release.
Each year the Wayne Township Volunteer Fire Rescue team continues to grow. Four years ago, in 2015, the team only had 15 members yet this year they had 60.
Participants in the event climbed 24 flights of stairs five times. Each participant had a badge displaying the photo and name of a fallen hero, according to Wysong. Participants announced those names after completing their climb and ringing a bell.
Even though the event has the design to climb 110 flights of stairs as a representation of the height of the twin towers in New York City, there are 10 extra flights due to “the logistics” of Chase Tower, explained Wysong.
According to Wysong, participants climb as a way to honor and remember the 343 FDNY firefighters who selflessly gave their lives in 2001 so that others might live. The team considers the extra 10 flights of steps as a representation for the heroes who served at Ground Zero who are losing their lives today.
In his email, Wysong wrote, “We are proud of our rural community showing the most significant support in Ohio’s capital.”
“We tell many new participants that this is not a competition or a race,” he said. “The real winners, no matter how large our team is, no matter how much more funds we raise, no matter how fast we climb—the real winners are always our fallen heroes.”
He explained that the services the NFFF provides for the families of the fallen are more significant than any one department, person or team helping to raise funds.
“That is who we are representing,” explained Wysong. “Donations were made to the NFFF on behalf of our organization by supporters who couldn’t attend. The event and support humble us. We are already planning next year’s event to continue supporting a great cause.”
Wysong said, “It doesn’t matter how small we are, we can still make a difference in things bigger than us.”
Information in this article was provided by Wayne Township Fire Department Chief Chris Wysong as well as from the online event page found at http://events.firehero.org/site/TR?fr_id=2104&pg=entry.
Reach Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355.