Rincon gym offering stair climbing challenge to honor first responders on 9/11

Published: Sep. 11, 2023 at 4:32 PM EDT
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RINCON, Ga. (WTOC) - An Effingham County gym is honoring all those who put their life on the line on 9/11.

A Rincon gym is hosting a 9/11 Climb Challenge for local firefighters. The gym owner says it’s to honor and support all first responders.

Empire Gym owner Mary Cain said it’s to support all first responders, both today and 22 years ago.

“I think without a doubt it is an event in our whole history that we cannot forget, and we need to honor all the people who have served since then,” Cain said.

Rincon firefighters climbed 110 flights on the stair-master. The same number of steps first responders climbed inside the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

“I’m here to honor those who went up 110 flights of stairs knowing they weren’t going to make it back down that day,” Rincon firefighter Andrew Thomas said.

Thomas said he’s been training for the challenge. Monday, he said he’s carrying around 50 pounds of equipment, but it’s usually much more.

“This doesn’t even scratch the surface. We would also have tools and an extra hose on our back. So, all and all, it’s over 100 pounds of what we would normally carry,” Thomas said.

“There’s no way, shape, or form we could actually emulate it to the degree that those firefighters went through but it’s to the best of our ability,” Cain said.

Thomas said climbing steps in near full gear helps him gain perspective on what 9/11 first responders experienced.

Cain said Monday’s challenge helps raise money and support for firefighters, like Thomas.

“They save lives, they save communities. So, we want to make sure they know we love, and we care for them and we want them here and in an environment where they’re supported and nurtured in what their goals and endeavors are,” Cain said.

She said one hundred percent of donations will go toward the Rincon Fire Department.