Hometown Hero: Jane Grismer

Hometown Hero: Jane Grismer

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - On the Saturday before Sept. 11 every year, Savannah has a way to acknowledge the anniversary of the terrorist attacks in Orleans Square.

The Tunnel to Towers Run has become one of Savannah's most popular 5K races, and a meaningful time of reflection for thousands.

Like the finish line for most runners, there's the sense that this should have come sooner.

"It's been an honor to be doing this for seven years," said Jane Grismer, WTOC Hometown Hero. "We've been here to share this event with Savannah."

Jane Grismer finally moved out front at the Tunnel To Towers Savannah Run, agreeing to hold a flag during the open ceremony after years of leading from behind. It's also time that she gets recognition for all the work she has put into an event that has become one of Savannah's favorites.

"We are the largest outside of New York City," she said. "It came with work and it came with a vision. We just thought big out of the gate."

Tunnel to Towers Savannah was born out of a WTOC Special Report on the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, and a series of interviews at the foundation's New York office, but it exists because Jane Grismer has built it piece by piece, with care and respect to the cause.

"I talk to Jane all year long on many different things," said Frank Siller, CEO, Tunnel to Towers Foundation. "She's a great soul. She does so much for us."

She is so involved in the 911 memorial event because it is personal to her.

"My dad was the general manager of operations for the World Trade Center. He retired in 1997. My two brothers both are New York City firefighters," Jane said.

Grismer also went to high school with Stephen Siller, who the race and the foundation honors.

The WTOC Hometown Hero has also been careful to add local tributes to the event, like this year's honoring of four Savannah firefighters who passed away and a Hunter Ranger who was killed in action.

"There were just crowds of people around them. They were touching the signs, kissing the signs, taking pictures with the signs. These guys were really important to this community."

So is the Tunnel to Towers event Jane Grismer has built.

The 2019 Tunnel to Towers Savannah Run will be held Saturday, Sept. 5, and Jane Grismer has already started working on it.

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