The second-annual Tunnel to Towers 5K took place on Saturday, Aug. 3, in Forest City, at the Emergency Services Center, raising almost $5,000 for the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.
Local race directors Amy (Frakes) Ryan and McKenzie (Reece) Matasovsky said they were inspired by Stephen’s story, hosting a 5K in his honor for the first time last year to raise money for the Foundation.
Stiller was a New York City firefighter who lost his life on Sept. 11, 2001, after strapping on his gear and running through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the Twin Towers.
The goal of the Forest City 5K, in addition to raising money, was to honor and remember the sacrifices of all first responders, military personnel, and veterans.
Forest City's event drew a crowd of 100 to follow the footsteps of Stephen Siller. Among walkers and runners were firefighters from Forest City, Clear Lake and Kanawha who ran in full fire gear, serving as a stark reminder of the sacrifice and service of first responders on 9/11, as well as the sacrifices made daily in their own communities.
Badges of the 343 fallen firefighters of 9/11 hung on display at the race registration.
Participants were encouraged to wear a badge and walk or run in memory of that person.
Ryan said organizers hoped the badges were taken home to honor and remember the lives of the fallen and to learn more about their stories.
Though not a timed event, awards were given out for achievements such as Top Fundraiser, Longest Service Career, and Most Patriotic Outfit. The Forest City Fire Department also received the Siller Cup, an annual award given to the service department with the most members participating in the 5K.
Plans are being to be made for the third-annual Forest City event.
Donations to support the Forest City event can still be made online at www.crowdrise.com/T2TForestCity2019.