SAN DIEGO – Thousands of people took part Saturday morning in the San Diego Firefighter 9/11 Stair Climb at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront.
Climbing 90 flights of stairs was a powerful experience for firefighters and other participants who wanted to show support and respect for the lives lost on September 11, 2001.
Each participant was given the name of a first responder to climb in memory of.
The event is the only one of its kind in the region. Every year is just as emotional as the previous one, especially for those who personally lost a loved one that day.
Joe Downey of New York City lost his father and seven of his fellow firefighters.
"My job, as a leader now, is to continue the tradition and their vision and values and making sure we do the right thing for the people of New York City," Downey said.
While the memorial stair climb reflected on the past, it was also geared toward raising awareness of the health issues that many firefighters face today. Proceeds from the event go to the Firefighter Aide, a San Diego-based nonprofit organization that helps support firefighters and their families.