For the sixth year, Wayne Township Volunteer Fire Rescue will participate with a team in the Columbus 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb and Walk.
The stair climb is set to happen on Saturday, Sept. 12 at Fortress Obetz, 2015 Recreational Trail in Obetz, Ohio.
According to Wayne Township Fire Chief Chris Wysong, participants from all around Ohio and neighboring states come together for this event.
“Participants are climbing to honor and remember the 343 FDNY (Fire Department of New York City) firefighters who selflessly gave their lives in 2001 so that others might live,” explained Wysong. “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.”
Each year, the team continues to grow from an original nine members in 2015 to 60 members last year.
“Participants climb with a badge displaying the photo and name of a fallen hero. Climbers will announce those names after completing their climb and ringing a bell. The design of this event is to climb 110 flights of stairs representing the height of the twin towers. This event is not a race or competition,” wrote Wysong in an email.
He further explained that many participants have joined the team who are not able to finish climbing all the stairs, which is “okay.”
“This year, there is an option to walk laps on the track and not climb at all,” wrote Wysong.
Those who would like to take part but can’t, or don’t want to attend in-person at this time, can take part as a virtual climber.
The Wayne Township Volunteer Fire Rescue was recognized in 2019 by event organizers as having the largest participating team.
“We are proud of our rural community showing the most significant support in Ohio’s capital. 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 — and that is who we are representing,” explained Wysong. “The event and support humble us, and we are thankful for everyone supporting the stair climb with us.”
Through the years, 96 badges of the fallen heroes have been collected and displayed on the firehouse walls — badges that were worn by team members as they climbed during past events.
“Our goal is to climb, representing all the fallen, and have every hero’s badge represented by our team hanging in the firehouse — never to allow us to forget this tragic attack,” wrote Wysong. “We ask for the help of everyone to join our team this year either in person or virtually, and if you can’t physically join us, you can make a monetary donation to the NFFF on behalf of the team.”
The Wayne Township team page can be found at www.events.firehero.org/site/TR/StairClimb/General?team_id=9665&pg=team&fr_id=2203.
Reach Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355 or on Twitter @JennMWoods.