Many stories of bravery emerged from the ruins of the World Trade Center in the months and years following September 11, 2001. Stephen Siller's is one of those. The New York City firefighter ran from the closed Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the Twin Towers to meet up with his crew. He carried 60 pounds of gear on his back the whole way. Our Sarah Blazonis tells us about the event held to honor Siller and other fallen heroes that has finally made its way to Central New York.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- A helmet, boots, and heavy coat and pants aren't what Matt Craner would normally wear to go for a run. But, he said it seemed like a good way to honor the memory of Stephen Siller.
"When I get done today, I'm probably going to be spent. I can't imagine running all that way in his turnout gear and then having to go to work. But, everybody gave a little extra that day, and he's no exception," said Craner, a Syracuse Fire Department Lieutenant.
Craner was one of the more than 100 runners who came out for Syracuse's first Tunnel to Towers Run. The 5K was founded in New York City. Since then, versions have been run all over the world.
"Some of the guys have gone to the New York City run and participated in that. That's a 30,000 person run. You can't help but be moved when you participate in something like that," said Timothy Barclay, a Syracuse Fire Department Lieutenant, and co-founder of the Syracuse run.
Many of the runners said they came out because of the causes that the run supports. Some of the proceeds will stay local with the Clark Burn Center, and some will go to the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. The Siller Foundation builds smart homes for wounded veterans.
"A lot of times they'll come back and it'll seem like they're on their own. So an act like building a house for someone that's accessible after they have given so much, I think it's huge," said Michael Schoeneck, a runner with Team Red, White, and Blue, a veterans' service organization.
"My wonderful husband is a captain in the Army. They serve in such an outstanding way, whatever I can do to be a part of it. And, I think it's great that they're branching out," said Kristen Epstein, a runner with Donate Sweat, a group that promotes worthy causes.
And while the run was as tiring as Matt Craner expected, he said it was well worth it.
"We're one big family," he said. "It doesn't matter if you're in the same department or even in the same state. When something like this happens, guys from all over come together."