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Richmond stair climb honors 9/11 fallen firefighters: ‘It’s always worth it’

RICHMOND, Va. -- Hundreds of people came out to downtown Richmond Sunday morning to honor the firefighters who died on Sept. 11, 2001. The 7th annual Richmond 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb brought out firefighters, law enforcement and family members from all over the Commonwealth.

Annie Colfax’s family came down from New York City to remember the 343 firefighters who died in the terrorist attacks.

One of those firefighters  was Colfax's cousin Marty Egan.

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney led the group up 22 flights 5 times, a total of 110 stories that were in the World Trade Center.

"As we take each and every step today, let's remember those who went into the unknown,” said Mayor Stoney.

Lt.  Michael Oprandy with the Richmond Fire Department organized the climb inside the SunTrust building in downtown Richmond.

Never Forget

Never Forget

"We made a commitment 16 years ago now that we would never forget, and this is what that means to us, that we won't forget. That's why it continues to sell out. We take some same name tags every year and do the journey with them,” he said.

Oprandy says all the registration fees go to the Fallen Firefighters Foundation.

"It's earmarked for the FDNY families for continuing to support them after 911,” said Oprandy.

Richmond 911 Memorial Stair Climb

Richmond 911 Memorial Stair Climb

Each person who does the climb carries the name and picture of a fallen firefighter.

It’s a lot of steps, and many people carry more than a hundred pounds of equipment, but the men and women who come out say they do it to pay tribute to the brave New York firefighters who died in their heroic journey to save others.

"It's always worth it,” said Douglas Pyne, a Henrico fire.

"It's to show support for all those firefighters who just rush into a building. They don't think about it, they just go,” said Irene Foster whose daughter and son-in-law were doing the climb.