COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - More than 2,500 runners took part in the Tunnel to Towers 5K Run and Walk on Friday.
The event, held in Columbia, was to honor New York City firefighter Stephen Siller, who made the ultimate Sacrifice on 9/11.
On that day, Siller, who had finished his shift, put his gear back on, ran through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and to the Twin Towers.
He and many others gave it all that day. During this run Siller, fellow NYC first responders, our military and those in the Palmetto State are remembered for their sacrifice.
From the start of the run, near Columbia’s 9/11 Memorial, just like on 9/11, everyone was together.
We spoke with first time runners Patricia Nodurft and Toni Mureddu, who both served.
"It makes me feel good to do this for the first responders. All of them. I spent 22 years in the Army," Nodurft said. "We retired before 9/11, so I just want to help them in any way I can."
Along the path, we met Shawqi El-Tarazi, who was watching the event for his first time.
“Time stops and it’s more about love and appreciating and loving everyone once and for all,” El-Tarazi said.
“These people are out running today because they believe in first responders that are there protecting them every day,” Dan Hennigan, Tunnel to Towers SC Committee Chair said.
“A really good thing to see, appreciate all of the struggles and everything that they do for us, appreciate the country that we live in and how special it is,” El-Tarazi said.
“We pray every day for them,” Nodurft said.
Toni Mureddu added: “Because they’ve done a fantastic job.”
Five-hundred volunteers helped make the event possible. The money raised goes to amazing causes.
In total, Tunnels to Towers has helped raise funds that have gone toward projects like the development of 85 smart homes for wounded warriors and families as well as 40 mortgages paid for fallen first responder families.