A team from the West Plains area will once again join other firefighters and civilians in honoring the memories of those that perished in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and help raise funds for support services provided to family members of all firefighters that die in the line of duty.
The event will be held beginning with check-in at 7:30 a.m. Sept. 30 at Missouri State University Plaster Stadium, 1015 E. Grand St. in Springfield.
An opening ceremony will be held at 8:30 a.m., with the stair climb beginning at 9 a.m. The event is expected to be finished at noon.
It is the 11th year for the stair climb, which originated Sept. 11, 2005, in Denver.
A history provided by event organizers shows that year five firefighters gathered at a high rise to climb 110 flights of stairs, the number of stories in the South Tower of the World Trade Center, in memory of the 343 New York City firefighters that died in the line of duty while attempting to rescue survivors of the attack.
Event historians added more firefighters from the Denver area joined the next year, making the number 12, and it grew each year after that until it reached 343 in 2008, representing one stair climber for each of the firefighters killed, and was capped at that number.
Called the 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb, it grew in popularity until in 2010 the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) partnered with the original Denver team in order to create a plan for other firefighters to host or participate in their own events, and the stair climb went nationwide.
The goal of the event is to solicit sponsorships to cover event costs so 100% of entry fees paid by participants goes to the NFFF, a charitable organization that funds benefits awarded to the family members of firefighters that died in the line of duty, including scholarships for the children of those firefighters and other support services.
There will be over 343 participants at this year's event, climbing the equivalent of 110 stories at Plaster Stadium, and more who will join in with a virtual equivalent of 110 stories by walking, running, biking or alternative 9.11 kilometer workout, or 5.066 miles.
Last year, registered climbers raised over $40,000 for the NFFF, organizers noted, and all registration fees will be directed to the NFFF.
To donate or register for the event, visit nfff.akaraisin.com/ui/springfield23, and click on the "Donate" or "Register" button at the top right of the page. Donations may be made to a specific climber, team or team member.
The name of the team representing West Plains is City of West Plains Fire and Rescue, headed by Dave Masterson with team members Dylan Summers and Jeff Collingwood, Jr.
To donate directly to the team or a team member, click on the "Team" button on the donation page and enter "City of West Plains Fire and Rescue" in the search bar.