“Step Up For Heroes” Remembers 9/11 First Responders

Hundreds Climb 110 Flights Of Stairs To Represent World Trade Center

A week ago, the country remembered the innocent lives that were lost on September 11th, 2001.

In Sioux Falls Saturday, climbers paid homage to first responders who gave their lives trying to help other on that infamous day with the “Step Up For Heroes” challenge.

Their goal was to take as many steps as some of the fallen heroes did.

Hundreds gathered at Howard Wood Field to take a climb of 110 flights to remember the 343 firefighters who died in the buildings of the World Trade Center on 9/11.

Sioux Falls Firefighters Association President, Michael Gramlick, said the march up and down the grandstands paints not only a physical perspective, but a mental one as well.

“It’s just a time to come and reflect on what that day was like, how it changed all of our lives forever and really how we’re going to view a world through that lens until the end of time,” said Gramlick

Members of law enforcement, fire departments and the general public powered through the equivalent amount of steps representing each building of the Twin Towers.

Stephen Davis with the volunteer fire department in Woonsocket said it gave them a small glimpse of what happened that day.

“It just shows what they had to go through that day and they were in a lot worse circumstances then just climbing up these bleachers here,” said Davis.

Sgt. Andrew Siebenborn with the Sioux Falls Police Department said it a basic concept to give back to a difficult time.

“I think everyone here has a calling in their heart and it’s a very simple gesture and the least we can do for families that continue to live on,” said Sgt. Siebenborn.

It wasn’t only Sioux Falls and South Dakota first responders in attendance as some came all the way from Nebraska such as Lincoln volunteer firefighter, Kari Hernandez.

Hernandez said the challenge tested both endurance and emotion.

“It’s definitely going to pull on some heartstrings just knowing if you’re thinking about what those men and women went through when they were there,” said Hernandez.

Hadar, Nebraska volunteer firefighter, Tricia Faimon said this memorial climb helps them keep the memory alive of those who gave everything more than 15 years ago.

“I think we’ve rebuilt and we’ve gotten stronger. I think by remembering those who went before us can only make us stronger in the longer run,” said Faimon.

All proceeds from Step Up For Heroes go toward community assistance by Sioux Falls Fire Rescue such as helping with groceries to car repairs.