We climbed because they climbed

Wednesday marks 12 years since the September 11 terrorist attacks. On Saturday, September 7th, the third annual 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb was held at the Renaissance Tower in Dallas in honor of the people killed in the attacks. The motto of the climb was, “We climb because they climbed”.

The climb consisted of two trips up the 55 story tower to represent the 110 stories in the World Trade Center.  All of participants were suited up in full emergency gear, wearing photos of the men and women who died around our necks. Richmond Firefighter Trevor Adkisson represented 31 year old Sgt. John P. Skala, an 8 year veteran of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department. Sgt. Skala was also a part-time paramedic for Clifton/Passaic Ambulance Corps in New Jersey.  Sgt. Skala died saving others and remembering these public servants by participating in the “Climb” is a small gesture to honor those who serve.

About John Skala:  When the first plane hit the World Trade Center, John was one of the first volunteers to report to the scene. He grabbed the air pack he carried in the trunk of his car and began helping people evacuate the building. The daughter of his partner stated that “He seemed to live to work when he was working, and live to play when he was playing.”   Firefighter Adkisson stated, “It was a true honor for me to be able to climb for, and remember this individual. It was really great to see that so many came to the event and worked together to honor everyone that was affected by the 9/11 tragedy. I climbed with 343 firefighters and 70 police officers representing 109 departments and three states.  The group I climbed with included Officer Jaime Garcia from the Richmond Police Department, and eight members from the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Department.”

Richmond Fire Chief Michael Youngblood said, “My son, a Firefighter with the Bellaire Fire Department, participated in this event last year and he related to me how the experience affected him and his views toward serving others.  Having heard Dane’s firsthand account of the experience in Dallas made it an easy decision to sponsor one of Richmond’s own (Trevor Adkisson) in the “Climb”.

All money raised goes to five different charities that help the families of the September 11 victims and other fallen firefighters and police officers. Firefighter Adkisson went on to say, “This was a very humbling experience and it really meant a lot to me to be a part of the event”.

For more information visit www.dallasstairclimb.com

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