COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – As we remember the events of 9/11, support for first responders and those who lost their lives is visible here in our community.
On Sunday, up to 100 local first responders will ascend and descend the steps of Weidner Field, home of the Switchbacks. They invite the community to remember the more than 300 firefighters who died on 9/11 and to honor an El Paso County deputy who was fatally shot last month.
Chad Otruba is a firefighter with the Carson Firefighters Association. He helped organize the climb of the memorial staircase.
“It’s important to keep their memories alive and to honor those who lost their lives that day,” said Otruba, who mentioned the climb was for firefighters who never returned. “We are ready at any time to answer any of these types of calls and know that one of us may not be coming home, or all of us, and so that is why we we register.”
The climb of more than 2,000 steps is also to honor El Paso County Assemblyman Andrew Peery. Last month he was shot and killed in the line of duty while answering a call.
“With the added layer of losing an MP so close to 9/11 and being able to pour into their family and just show love and support across the community, I think it’s important for us to come together,” Otruba said.
Participating firefighters will march in full firefighter gear with up to 100 pounds of gear. They show their support for the first responders who made the ultimate sacrifice, including Deputy Peery.
“Even if his life is lost, we will always be there for them. It doesn’t matter if it’s the thin blue line, the thin red line, the thin gold line, whatever it is,” Otruba said.
This is the sixth year that the Carson Firefighters Association has hosted the Memorial Stair Climb. Last year it was held at UCHealth Park, home of the Rocky Mountain Vibes.
“It’s just a surreal environment to see first responders from all walks of life walking up and down those stairs and climbing for themselves,” Otruba said.
Participants will also receive a photo of a deceased 9/11 firefighter. As people climb, they climb in that person’s memory.
“To enjoy these moments and to have a label of responsibility from one of these first responders who lost their lives, and to climb in their honor, it ties it all together,” Otruba said.
The family event will run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
It’s $50 per person to climb and the money raised will go to the Peery family. Sponsors and suppliers are also invited to participate. The cost for sponsors and vendors is $250. Organizers say all money raised will go directly to Deputy Peery’s family.
All information and registration links can be found at Remembering the Fallen Stair Climb.
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