SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. (KCAU)– A heroic firefighter gave his life saving others in the 9/11 tragedy and in late 2010’s, a 5K walk was started in Siouxland to honor his life. Each year roughly 100 people participate in the local Tunnel to Towers event in South Sioux City.
The event was started in New York City after 9/11 when firefighter Stephen Siller died protecting those in his local community.
Tunnel to Towers was started to honor not only Siller, but all those who had fallen during the tragedy. After its conception, the event spread throughout the U.S. eventually starting in Siouxland.
The event has first responders running or walking 3.1 miles in either work gear or regular workout attire.
Local Sioux City firefighter George Glass has been a part of the event since the beginning. He said doing the event puts into perspective what those first responders dealt with on 9/11.
“It’s to make sure that I’m capable of doing the job, because it’s not a game, it truly isn’t. And 65 pounds on your own body, I challenge anybody at any length of time to put 65 pounds additional on themselves and then restrict your breathing by breathing through an air tank,” said Glass.
Glass said while some people weren’t around to see 9/11 unfold, the run helps bring communities closer together to honor those who sacrificed their lives on that day, no matter if they recall the tragedy.
“You learn as a kid, or at least I did, about WWII and the Vets that fought for our freedom and the people that perished in that. It really never touched home. You listen to those stories, but 9/11, you know I remember watching the towers collapse and understanding what it truly means that freedom is not free and understanding what that means. And as a firefighter, you know there’s been times where you do have to put your own life at risk to save others,” said Glass.
The 5K run also raises money to help first responders and military members across the U.S.
“This race, among a lot of races, represents just a little bit of appreciation and thanks to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and ultimately just being able to be a part of something like that can really make you connect with those family members that have lost their loved ones,” said Glass.
Tunnel to Towers starts the run from Foundry Road at 9 a.m. on October 8. Siouxlanders can still purchase tickets for the event starting at $35.