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JBA Airmen Climb to Honor Fallen 9/11 First Responders

Austin Scott, Prince George’s County Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department firefighter, faces the American flag during the 2016 National Capital Region 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb and 5K Walk at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at National Harbor, Md., Sept. 10, 2016. The event, hosted by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, brought attendees from local counties and military bases to either climb a total of 110 flights of stairs or walk a 5K in honor of the 343 firefighters who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez)

Austin Scott, Prince George’s County Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department firefighter, faces the American flag during the 2016 National Capital Region 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb and 5K Walk at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at National Harbor, Md., Sept. 10, 2016. The event, hosted by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, brought attendees from local counties and military bases to either climb a total of 110 flights of stairs or walk a 5K in honor of the 343 firefighters who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez)

Participants of the 2016 National Capital Region 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb and 5K Walk gather at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at National Harbor, Md., Sept. 10, 2016. More than 600 people attended the event, including approximately 16 Joint Base Andrews Fire Department members, as well as five 11th Security Forces Squadron police officers. In addition to climbing 110 flights of stairs combined with doing sets of push-ups, the individuals raised more than $1,600 for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez)

Participants of the 2016 National Capital Region 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb and 5K Walk gather at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at National Harbor, Md., Sept. 10, 2016. More than 600 people attended the event, including approximately 16 Joint Base Andrews Fire Department members, as well as five 11th Security Forces Squadron police officers. In addition to climbing 110 flights of stairs combined with doing sets of push-ups, the individuals raised more than $1,600 for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez)

A Joint Base Andrews Fire Department firefighter crew chief holds a helmet during the 2016 National Capital Region 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb and 5K Walk at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at National Harbor, Md., Sept. 10, 2016. Approximately 21 military members from the Joint Base Andrews Fire Department and 11th Security Forces Squadron attended the event to climb 110 flights of stairs in honor of the 343 who made the ultimate sacrifice due to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez)

A Joint Base Andrews Fire Department firefighter crew chief holds a helmet during the 2016 National Capital Region 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb and 5K Walk at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at National Harbor, Md., Sept. 10, 2016. Approximately 21 military members from the Joint Base Andrews Fire Department and 11th Security Forces Squadron attended the event to climb 110 flights of stairs in honor of the 343 who made the ultimate sacrifice due to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez)

Participants of the 2016 National Capital Region 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb and 5K Walk climb the stairs of the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at National Harbor, Md., Sept. 10, 2016. More than 600 members of the local community, including approximately 21 of Joint Base Andrews’ own, attended the event to climb 110 flights of stairs in honor of the firefighters who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2011. Attendees wore a variety of ensembles, ranging from shorts and t-shirts, to full 90-pound firefighter’s gear. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez)

Participants of the 2016 National Capital Region 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb and 5K Walk climb the stairs of the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at National Harbor, Md., Sept. 10, 2016. More than 600 members of the local community, including approximately 21 of Joint Base Andrews’ own, attended the event to climb 110 flights of stairs in honor of the firefighters who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2011. Attendees wore a variety of ensembles, ranging from shorts and t-shirts, to full 90-pound firefighter’s gear. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez)

A participant of the 2016 National Capital Region 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb and 5K Walk climbs the stairs of the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at National Harbor, Md., Sept. 10, 2016. In honor of the 343 firefighters who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, more than 600 local community members either climbed 110 flights of stairs or walked a 5K. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez)

A participant of the 2016 National Capital Region 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb and 5K Walk climbs the stairs of the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at National Harbor, Md., Sept. 10, 2016. In honor of the 343 firefighters who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, more than 600 local community members either climbed 110 flights of stairs or walked a 5K. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez)

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. --

Ninety pounds of equipment weighed on the backs of hundreds of first responders as they gradually climbed each flight of stairs, step-by-step.

 

To honor and remember the firefighters who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, members of the Joint Base Andrews Fire Department and 11th Security Forces Squadron took part in the 2016 National Capital Region 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb and 5K Walk at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at National Harbor, Md., Sept. 10, 2016.

 

“This event was a very challenging experience,” said Staff Sgt. Heather Clear, 11th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter crew chief. “What we felt wasn’t even close to what the first responders felt going through the twin towers, but it’s very humbling trying to imagine going through their steps.”

 

Approximately 21 JBA firefighters and police officers attended the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation event, which hosted more than 600 local community members taking part in either walking a 5K or climbing 110 flights of stairs.

 

“It’s important for us to be part of this because we’re partners with Prince George’s County and all the surrounding communities,” Clear said. “We work together on regular day-to-day operations, so we like to come out here and support the other bases along with the local community.”

 

The number of stairs climbed marked the same amount the firefighters climbed in the World Trade Center Towers 15 years ago.

 

“I was trying to imagine what they were feeling on that day,” said Staff Sgt. Gregory Skrjanc, 11th Security Forces Squadron emergency services team leader. “It has to be a completely different experience with all the chaos that was going on. I was just trying to put myself in the mindset of what they were going through.”

 

In addition to the climb, participants paid tribute to the 343 first responders who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks by wearing an identification card of one hero while following their final path.

 

“[The first responders’] stories were inspiration as we climbed and walked,” said Marc S. Bashoor, Prince George’s County Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department fire chief. “We did this in memory of those 343 souls and every firefighter who has lost their life in service to others.”

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