Tunnel To Towers 5K returns September 9

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Published: Aug. 31, 2022 at 10:00 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 5, 2022 at 8:15 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The Tunnel to Towers South Carolina 5K Run and Walk is happening in Columbia on September 9th at 6 pm.

The event marks the 21st anniversary of 9/11 when thousands lost their lives including first responders. Thousands of runners will hit the pavement in Columbia honoring first responders and U.S. military members who serve and have given their lives to save others in the line of duty.

Jack Jensen is a former Columbia Richland fire chief who retired with more than 50 years in service as a firefighter. He said what they do goes beyond the uniform.

“We recognize them, recognizing the fallen firefighters, police officers, and paramedics. You know for what they do,” Jensen said.

It’s a race he said brings attention to the men and women in uniform who lost their lives on 9/11.

More than 3,000 people died that day including New York City firefighter Stephen Siller. He was off duty but wanted to help.

With 60 pounds of gear strapped to his body, Siller ran more than a mile from the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the World Trade Center. He gave his life to save others.

“It was horrendous. The whole thing was horrendous and within 15 to 20 minutes I started getting calls from my friends up there, there are a lot of good people that died,” Jensen said. “The tragic thing is that there are a lot more people today who worked to rescue and retrieve the dead, who are getting sick because of what was in the dust.”

Whether you walk or run Jensen said it’s recognizing the ultimate sacrifice first responders and military members make every day.

A sacrifice he said should never be forgotten.

“We don’t normally think about them on a day-to-day basis. But here, here we are with a program, which is trying to help those who normally try to help other people,” Jensen said.

The Tunnels to Towers 5k happens all across the country. It raises money to build mortgage-free smart homes for first responders and military members among other things. Click here to learn more about the race.

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