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Reporter walks — briefly — in boots of 9/11 firefighters
With the assistance of Nashua Fire Lt. Bill Campbell, New Hampshire Union Leader reporter Paul Feely puts on 60 pounds of firefighter gear. (Bruce Taylor/Union Leader)
Sweating after he reaches the top of the 20-story Brady Sullivan Plaza building Sunday in Manchester, New Hampshire Union Leader reporter Paul Feely gets a preview of the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb set for Oct. 6. Firefighters from across the state will take part in the fundraiser and tribute to the 343 firefighters killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. (Bruce Taylor/Union Leader)
Nashua Fire Lt. Bill Campbell, coordinator of the Oct. 6 New Hampshire 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb, met me at the tower Sunday morning for a practice run of 40 stories. Campbell provided a full set of firefighter turnout gear — boots, jacket, pants, helmet and tank apparatus, weighing approximately 60 pounds. Campbell set the mood by describing the conditions firefighters faced on 9/11 at the World Trade Center towers.
Next Sunday, hundreds of firefighters, other emergency responders, families and civilians will walk the stairs 5 1/2 times in the third annual climb, representing the 110 flights of stairs in the twin towers. The event is a fundraiser for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and pays tribute to the 343 firefighters killed on Sept. 11, 2001 — many while ascending the twin towers' stairs trying to rescue civilians trapped on the upper floors.
Another 10 steps. Is it possible we're only at the 10th floor? A short pause for breath. At 20 stories, I gasped for air and took in the view of the Millyard and the city beyond.
Those wishing to contribute to this year's event, either by volunteering their time or through a donation, can contact Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information or to register for the climb, visit www.nh9-11stairclimb.org.
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