PADUCAH — Wickliffe Rural Fire Department firefighters Timothy Greif and Dawson Collins suited up in their 65 pounds of fire gear Wednesday. This time, they were not responding to an emergency, but honoring the first responders who died 18 years ago on Sept. 11, 2001.

"343 firefighters lost their lives that day and left all their families behind, and it's just very sad that, that happened," says Greif.

Timothy Greif and Dawson Collins

Once suited up, Greif and Collins went to a local gym to climb the same number of stairs first responders did in the Twin Towers. In total, they climbed 110 flights of stairs. With each step, Greif's thoughts were with them.

"I'm definitely thinking about those guys and their family, and I can't imagine about what they thought climbing up there, and what they were fixing to get into, and about all the lives they saved that day," Greif says.

Greif was only five when 9/11 happened, but now, being a firefighter himself, he says he looks back on that day and feels a connection to those first responders.

Timothy Greif

"I feel a big connection to them. I feel like I lost one of my own family members," Greif said, "I didn't do it for me. I did it for them, and their family members and FNDY, and I'm just grateful to have the opportunity to do it."

Climbing one stair at a time, so we never forget. 

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