CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Tunnel to Towers Stair Climb returned to Charlotte Saturday, as nearly 250 climbers navigated the stairs of Wells Fargo’s Duke Energy center in uptown.
The 50-floor climb was inspired by the first responders that rushed into the World Trade Center on 9/11. Charlotte is one of five climbs and over 40 5k runs across the country to honor first responders, remember 9/11 and raise funds to build smart homes for catastrophically injured service members.
Many firefighters and first responders performed the climb while wearing full firefighter gear that weighed in excess of 60 pounds. The act was to pay tribute to Stephen Siller, the off-duty firefighter who ran with over 60 pounds of his gear through a blocked-off Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the World Trade Center on 9/11. Siller paid the ultimate sacrifice for his bravery on that infamous day.
“It’s such an incredible cause, how can you not get behind it?” Asked Jeff Viner of Gastonia Nissan. “Raising funds to build homes for catastrophically injured service members is such an honor.”
Every climber at Saturday’s stair climb was given a badge to wear while they scaled all 50 floors. Each badge had a different photo and name of a first responder that died on 9/11. NBC Charlotte's Hannah Welker and Chief Meteorologist Brad Panovich were among those who made the climb Saturday morning.
The 2017 climb marked the second year the event was held in uptown after a successful 2016 climb. To learn more about the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, click here.