The Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center was the host site for the 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb and Walk On Saturday, September 7. A strong contingent of the fire service family arrived early Saturday morning to participate and support an effort to ensure we never forget the sacrifice that 343 firefighters made on September 11, 2001, at the World Trade Center in New York.
Participants entered the complex under the U.S. Flag supported by ladder trucks from Kentland and Clinton. Everyone was greeted with an opening prayer by Chaplain Jim Neal and a pledge of allegiance with a presentation of colors by the Fire/EMS Department Honor Guard. Welcoming comments were provided by My Harrison, Executive Director of Security for the Gaylord National, Fire Chief Marc Bashoor and Cathy Hedrick, a firefighter safety advocate, LODD survivor and representative of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. Fire Chief Bashoor, along with his wife, completed the 110 story stair climb while Cathy Hedrick completed the nearly 5K walk.
Public Safety Communications provided a recap of the events as they occurred. At the precise time, a radio broadcast was made by Fire Dispatch Supervisor Dan Thornton over the Fire/EMS Departments main dispatch channel describing an incident that happened at that exact moment 11 years ago on September 11, 2001. The radio broadcast was amplified at the stair climb and a moment of silence was held before resuming the climb and walk.
Sixty stair climbers and walkers participated in the event which included firefighters from around the region including, but not limited to; Joint Base Andrews, Cockeysville, Annapolis, PGFD Carer Recruit School 46, Alexandria, Montgomery County and of course; retired and current members of Prince Georges County. About a dozen employees of the Gaylord Resort also participated in the grueling climb of 110 stories. Every supporter and participant carried with them at least one card with a name and picture of one of the 343 firefighters that paid the ultimate sacrifice that day.
This event would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the organizing committee, both volunteer and career employees, as well as Calvin Hawkins and members of CERT and the donation of water by 1-800-BOARDUP.
Proceeds from the 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb and Walk benefited the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
For additional images from this event, please visit the Gaylord National Facebook page.