Article by Ethan Nahté
The second annual Memorial Stair Climb will take place Saturday, Sept. 9, at Mena’s Bob Carver Bearcat Stadium once again, and the public is invited. They will be honoring those who lost their lives September 11, 2001, by climbing 110 flights of stairs to honor firefighters, police, and EMS workers. Those participating state, “343 — forgetting is not an option.”
Last year at the first stair climb, Mena Fire Chief Steve Egger said, “They are doing this to honor the 343 rescue workers and their valiant efforts to rescue others. It was 110 flights of stairs, equal to 2,200 steps those brave heroes took to try and saves the lives of as many others as they could.”
Egger was referring to the World Trade Center as more than 8,600 firefighters from the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) answered the call on 9/11, along with law enforcement and EMS. 2,997 people died that day, including 343 firefighters and eight EMS providers, dying to save others.
Many more rescuers died afterwards from cancer and other issues caused by toxic fumes and other related illnesses. Many survivors suffer from PTSD. Several of the survivors retired from the FDNY after 9/11.
Registration is at 7:30 a.m. and the climb begins at 8 a.m. Observing the firefighters last year — many of them wearing their full 40 pounds of gear, not to mention some also wearing their oxygen tanks — it was an exhausting 30 minutes or so to climb the stadium bleachers wearing the same amount of gear similar to what the 343 would have worn. Some of the Mena firefighters had just finished a 24-hour shift.
The Mena Fire Department is excited to welcome the general public, fostering togetherness, and shared remembrance. Local fire, law enforcement, and EMS workers welcome you to climb with them.
Donations will also be accepted for The Benjamin Tyler Vincent Memorial Foundation.
This coming Monday, Sept. 11, is Patriot Day.