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Around 2,000 runners gather to remember 9-11 first responders

Updated: Sep. 8, 2018 at 3:37 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Runners in the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry spent their Saturday morning in downtown Savannah remembering those who lost their lives in the attacks of September 11th.

Around 2,000 first responders, military members, and their biggest supporters took to the streets of downtown Savannah Saturday for the annual Stephen Siller Foundation's Tunnel to Towers 5K.

"I couldn't be more thrilled to be here in Savannah with all of these great Americans," said Frank Siller, the CEO of the Stephen Siller Foundation.

Frank Siller is one of Stephen Siller's oldest siblings. He and his family started the foundation in honor of their fallen brother who died in the 9-11 attacks.
On that day, Stephen was supposed to go play golf with his brothers. Instead, he headed towards the twin towers.

He was stopped at the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, where he strapped on 60 pounds of gear, abandoned his truck, and headed towards that devastating scene where he died.

"And that's why you see so many people run in bunker gear," Siller said. "It's so amazing."

'When Firefighter Stephen had to run from the tunnels to the towers, and knowing he ran that distance to just work. I knew it was important to honor him the best I could," said Mara Prosolow, who is working on becoming a Bluffton Township Firefighter.

On the route, 343 school children stood on the sidelines near Forsyth Park holding pictures of those firefighters who died in the 9-11 attacks.

The race also honored 4 local firefighters who have died since the last Tunnel to Towers race in 2016. Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Celiz was also honored.
The local army ranger died in Afghanistan in July.

The Siller Foundation awarded his widow Katie and daughter Shannon with a brand new mortgage free home.

"I think as Americans we have to make it a contract with our first responders, fire fighters, and our military," Siller said. "And that's if you go out into our community our country, we are going to do something for you."

Since the start of the foundation, the Siller Family has been able to spend around $7,000,000 dollars paying off mortgages for community heroes and their families.

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