Watchung Firefighters Step in Shadows of a Hero
Responders recreate New York firefighter Stephen Siller's actions on Sept. 11, 2001.
Sunday's Tunnels to Towers Run in New York City drew 30,000 participants, including Watchung volunteer firefighters Dave Miller, Steve Speeney and Charles Pivnichny.
But unlike nearly all of the other 5K participants, the Watchung contingent did the event in full firefighter gear—just as New York firefighter Steve Siller did on Sept. 11, 2001, when he responded to the terrorist attacks and was unable to drive any closer than the Brooklyn Battery Park tunnel.
Siller's widow and five children launched the Tunnel to Towers Foundation to raise money to provide appropriate housing for disabled veterans, as well as sponsor annual Tunnels to Tower events to uphold the vow to never forget Sept. 11's attacks and the amazing acts of heroism by people like Stephen Spiller.
For Miller, Speeney and Pivnichny, the event is a powerful reminder of the day. Speeney has participated in the event twice before, and Miller once, but it was Pivnichny's first.
"It's an emotional day and something I won't ever give up doing," Speeney said.
He added they didn't train to run the event in their gear—"We are so used to wearing our gear that it wasn't really something we trained for—we just did it," he said—and started out the 5K jogging, but started walking.
Which was OK: they made many fans among the crowds of people watching the event who often stopped them and asked to take pictures.
"It felt good to be appreciated," Speeney said.
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