The campus of Kansas Wesleyan University was bustling with activity early Sunday morning, hosting an event that Salina Fire Chief Tony Sneidar vowed is now an annual event, the first “Central Kansas 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb and Family Walk.”
The morning began with opening remarks by Chief Sneidar, and Kansas Wesleyan President Dr. Matt Thompson. State representative Steven Howe read a proclamation from Kansas Governor Laura Kelly and then presented it to the chief.
The event itself was two-fold, a memorial stair climb and a 5K walk /run.
This participating in the stair climb climbed the equivalent of 110 flights of stairs, which is what the the firefighters on September 11th, 2001 had to climb. Many of the participants were firefighters wearing their full gear, which weighs about 100 pounds. They climbed up and down the stadium stairs, taking seven laps around the facility to complete the task.
Those not climbing went on the 5K journey, which circled the KWU campus a couple of times.
Everyone participating carried the name badge of one of the fallen 343 firefighters and as they finished their journey read off the firefighter’s name and rang a bell.
According to Chief Sneidar, through firefighter and community participation we can ensure that each of the 343 firefighters is honored and that the world knows that we will never forget. He says they would be remiss in mentioning that since that fateful day, there have been an additional 280+ firefighters who have succumbed to 9/11 related injuries or illness.
The event generated nearly $10,000. All proceeds will benefit the FDNY Counseling Services Unit and the programs provided by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (501c3) which have provided much needed assistance to the surviving families and co-workers of the firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice on September 11, 2001.