Nashville 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb

The weekend was a success; however, it was emotionally and physically demanding. The trip to Nashville started off with a evening in Nashville. Saturday, I rode along at NFD Station 12: Task Force 12. After that, we had an evening out w/ family/friends, and called it an early night due to the climb being early Sunday. The climb was a great experience, and the trip back home is when my body thanked me for putting it through that experience.

Jared Lindholm, who is a coworker with me here in the Model City, has an uncle that works for Nashville Fire. He was gracious enough to allow us to stop by Station 12 and ride with him on a few runs. It was an eye opener for me as things around the fire house were very different compared to work. In my opinion, they focus on the important things that should matter to get the job done, and don’t get bent out of shape over the little things. Just like any other firehouse I have been in, the guys were very nice and had the coffee pot hot. We sat around and got to know the guys for a bit before catching a few runs. We ran a few alarms, but mainly just sat and listened. I always enjoy listening to the guys tell stories of runs, coworkers, etc. I am very grateful that Eng. Crawford and the guys at Task Force 12 allowed me to ride for a few hours.

Sunday, September 9th, 2012. This was my first time climbing in Nashville, TN. I am amazed that this is such a popular climb site. This year, the event sold out in just 30 minutes. 343 firefighters registered at 0700hours on July 2nd to be sure they had a spot to climb. After Jared and I arrived and got our friends settled in and watched the opening ceremony, we gathered in the parking garage of the TN Tower. The climb was very organized, and I thought it went smooth for just being the 3rd annual climb in Nashville. Originially, another firefighter, Jason Bledsoe, was going to climb with us from the Model City. He suffered an injury and after going through physical therapy for several weeks, he had to make the tough decision not to climb. He did travel down with his family to be there to support us in the climb. Jared’s uncle, Jeff, filled in Bledsoe’s spot on our team. We also met Marty Hudlow, Kurt Bennett, and John Hodosi. Hudlow and Bennett are from a neighboring department here in the Tri-Cities, and Hodosi represented Winchester Fire. This was our first time meeting the three of them. It was great to climb with these guys, and we climbed as a TEAM! We kept each other motivated, and we cheered each other on. The stairwell was lined with the faces and names of the 343 who were murdered on 9/11/01. Each step I kept my eyes glued on the faces and names of these fine firefighters. I didn’t even know what floor we were on, I just knew that we could finish by these guys keeping us motivated. The building stood 28 stories tall, and we made the climb up the steps four times. This was my first climb wearing an SCBA, and I personally felt like I had truly prepared myself for the climb. My hard work had paid off.

As we finished the climb, we walked out on the steps of the tower where a bell and microphone awaited. I announced Lt. Gregg Atlas’ name with pride. Chill’s ran down by back as I rang the bell in his honor. I did not only climb for Lt. Atlas’, I climbed for each and every firefighter who has passed. I climbed for W.D. Patterson from Grove City, PA. I climbed for Charles “Brother” Smith from Chilhowie Fire. I climbed for Earl Morphew, and every other firefighter from the previous climbs. I wore all of their names and photos around my neck every step of the way.

After finishing up, we took a few photos with friends who had came to watch us climb. It was another great experience, and I hit the gym today preparing for the Charlotte that is just over a month away. Charlotte will be a very unique climb for me because my parents will be travelling down to watch me climb. I am looking forward to gaining another bond with another firefighter from FDNY next month.

That’s all for now. Thanks for the support from everyone. Thanks to the National Firefighter’s Endowment for furnishing me with my Black Diamond Fire Boots that I climbed in. Check out their website by clicking here. I am a proud Chief member of their Officer’s Club, and won the boots in one of their monthly give-aways. I could not have done it without each and every one of you.