Sep 05, 2019
Local firefighters will climb the stairs of Founders Hall at HSU in full gear to honor the firefighters and first responders who lost their lives on September 11, 2001 in New York City.
“It’s something that fire departments do across the country,” says Luke Walker, a captain with the Arcata Fire District. Along with fellow Arcata firefighter Nick Hurn, Walker is coordinating next week’s 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb, the 3rd at HSU. In previous years, those who wanted to participate in the nationwide 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb had to travel as far as Sacramento.
“It’s a good way for us to reflect and honor this really significant event that happened to our entire country,” says Hurn.
In Arcata, the memorial climb will take place at Founders Hall on campus. Organizers chose the site for the long staircase that will represent the 110 stories climbed by the 343 firefighters who died in New York City.
While many representatives from local fire departments, law enforcement, and first responders will participate, Walker and Hurn want to make it clear that the entire community is invited to climb 1,980 steps—about 10 laps up and down the Founders Hall staircase—at Founders Hall.
The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation established a template for communities to host memorial stair climbs after firefighters from Denver, Colorado organized the first 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb in 2008.
“Actually going through the physical motion of climbing the stairs is more impactful,” says Hurn.
“It’s a cool way to keep the memory alive of the people who died that day.”
Hurn and Walker both participated in the event last year and explain that students and community members can join anytime between 9am-noon on the day of the event.
“It’s a challenging event,” says Hurn. “You definitely get a good sweat on.” Walker says that steps are taken on the “honor system,” meaning that participants can take all 1,980 steps or join for a break between classes.
“It’s a great way to acknowledge the depth of sacrifice that has made firefighters’ reputation today,” says Walker. “Not taking it for granted and working hard to uphold it.”
For those who cannot attend but want to support with a monetary donation, visit firehero.org. The proceeds of these 9-11 Memorial Stair Climbs help the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation create and maintain programs that support fire service survivors.
The Arcata Fire District encourages everyone to attend this free community event on September 11 from 9 a.m. to noon at Founders Hall, HSU. Water will be provided. For more information on the Humboldt County 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb, call the Arcata Fire District at 707.825.2000.