Running To Honor 9-11 Firefighter

Yu Shing Ting
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Friday - August 17, 2011
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Stephen Siller

Like many people, I will never forget watching the Sept. 11 attacks unfold live on TV. Nearly 3,000 people died that day. Among them, Maile Hale, whom I remember from Hahaione Elementary and Kaiser High. She was nice and extremely smart, graduating in 1993 as a class valedictorian.

So many innocent lives were taken that day, mostly civilians such as Hale, who was attending a seminar at the Trade Center. But there also were hundreds of firefighters, countless police officers and other firstresponders who made the ultimate sacrifice for others.

One of those fallen heroes is New York firefighter Stephen Siller. I first saw his story on Oprah and will never forget it. On Sept. 11, Siller had just gotten off the late shift in Brooklyn and was on his way to play golf with his brothers when his scanner told of the first plane hitting the Twin Towers. He immediately called his wife Sally to say he would be late because he wanted to help those at the scene.


He returned to his company, Squad 1, to grab his gear and drove toward the World Trade Center, but the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel that leads to Manhattan was already closed to traffic. So, with 60 pounds of gear strapped to his back, he ran 3 miles through the tunnel, hoping to meet up with his own company.

In honor of Siller, a father of five, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation was formed with a mission to support children who have lost a parent, and firefighters and military who have been seriously injured and sacrifice their quality of life in the line of duty.

There also is a Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Run/Walk in New York and around the country, including the first Hawaii event Sept. 11 at 7 a.m. at Pearl Harbor.

The event is open to the public, and benefits the Tripler Fisher House, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation and USA Cares. The course is 5K (3.1 miles) and starts near the entrance of the Ford Island Bridge. Register at active.com. Fee is $25 and includes a T-shirt.

“Our daughters were 2 and 3 when 9/11 happened, and I think about that day and how the timer started ticking for thousands of people and servicemembers who made that ultimate sacrifice,” says Leigh Anne Wilson, an Army spouse who is helping to coordinate the local event. “I don’t want to forget and I don’t want my kids to not know. I want them to understand what happened and the great stories that came from that tragedy and the things people do for others without even thinking. I mean (Siller) wasn’t thinking that he was going to die that day, he was just thinking that he needed to go back to work so that he could help someone.


“I’m also hoping we can reach out to a lot of young people to understand history and what took place here at Pearl Harbor. When you see a vet and they want to tell you a story, I want my children to be responsible and to stop and listen to that story, and take that in and remember it.”

For more information on the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, visit tunneltotowersrun.org.

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