Memorial stair climb at Ricketts Park pays tribute to fallen 9/11 firefighters, raises $62,000

Steven Bortstein
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — More than 300 volunteers, as well as local and area firefighters and first responders, took part in the annual National Fallen Firefighters 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb Saturday morning at Ricketts Park.

The annual event, which is held in more than three dozen cities across the country, raises funds for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, which helps fund programs supporting families of local fallen firefighters and the Fire Department of New York Counseling Services Unit.

In cities like Chicago, Denver and Baltimore, hundreds take part in the annual event, in which firefighters, first responders as well as the general public who wish to show their respects to the firefighters who perished during the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, climb 110 flights of stairs. The route took participants up and down from the third base dugout to the first base dugout at Ricketts Park, the equivalent of each of the two World Trade Center buildings.

The event featured 343 American flags, for each of the firefighters who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001, which adorned the outfield grass at Ricketts Park.

According to local stair climb spokesman Jackie Thornton, this year's event raised more than $62,000, far exceeding the goal for the event, with enough participants to represent each of the 343 firefighters who died during the terrorist attacks on America.

Before the event, tributes were given to those firefighters as well as special renditions of Amazing Grace as well as the national anthem. 

As each participant began their walk up and down the bleachers at Ricketts Park, they wore an ID badge representing a fallen firefighter. That name was read aloud and a bell rang to honor their service. There were more than 350 donations made to the NFFF, both from local and area residents as well as local businesses.

Local and area firefighters, as well as several hundred volunteers, take part in the annual 9/11 stair climb at Ricketts Park. The event raised more than $50,000 which goes to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
The playing of "Amazing Grace" on bagpipes is performed shortly before the annual 9/11 stair climb at Ricketts Park.

Steve Bortstein can be reached via email at SBortstein@Gannett.com, via Twitter @DTSBortstein or on the phone at (505) 635-2680