Belmont Park Resumes Annual 9/11 Tribute To Firefighters

From air shows to rock concerts, Belmont Park has hosted a wide variety of non-racing events in its more than 115 years.

But none of those events are more important than the hundreds of firefighters, their families and others who have gathered at Belmont Park in recent years to climb the equivalent of 110 flights of stairs from the World Trade Center, where 343 FDNY firefighters perished on Sept. 11, 2001.

After a year lost to the COVID-19 pandemic, the FDNY Stair Climb returns to Belmont Park on Sunday, October 17. This year’s 7th annual event is part of the nationwide 9/11 stair climb program that pays tribute to the FDNY firefighters who died more than 20 years ago on 9/11. The climb benefits the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF), which supports the families of fallen firefighters and the FDNY Counseling Service Unit.

“Twenty years later, I still remember what trauma looked like etched on the faces of firefighters at the World Trade Center site when a team from the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and I arrived on scene September 12, 2001,” said Chief Ron Siarnicki, who is the NFFF executive director. “It’s not something you can ever forget.”

Siarnicki and a foundation team arrived at the World Trade Center site within hours of the terrorist attacks. And once there, the enormous challenge ahead in facing a level and scope of tragedy unmatched in the history of U.S. firefighting became apparent.

“We quickly understood we needed to expand our capabilities and look for resources and support that we could utilize to assist the fire service and their families through this unprecedented amount of grief and loss,” recalled Siarnicki. “Not only did we lose an unprecedented number of firefighters; we also realized that supporting the families and co-workers left behind would require behavioral and mental health support with a new and intense focus on trauma.”

The nation’s inaugural FDNY stair climb to benefit the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation took place on September 11, 2005 when Colorado firefighters climbed 110 flights of stairs in Denver – each step commemorating the 110 stories of the World Trade Centers. The concept caught on around the country and became an annual event, taking on particular relevance in New York, where the tragedy of 9/11 was so personal and still raw. Citi Field, home of the Mets, hosted the first of several FDNY stair climbs. In 2017, the annual event moved to Belmont Park.

There are several ways to participate. At https://nfff.akaraisin.com/ui/national/about?utm_source=ticketpage&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=belfall21&utm_content=fdnystairclimb, you can register as an individual climber, team captain or team member. You also can donate to a climber, a team or a team member.

Gates and on-site registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. on October 17 at Belmont Park. The opening ceremony will be at 9:30 a.m., with the climb set from 10 a.m. to Noon. Participants are invited to a post-climb reception with food and entertainment and the day’s racing card. Five races will be named in honor FDNY fallen heroes.

The fees are $50 for a climber (13 & up), which includes a t-shirt, badge & after party; $35 for a virtual climber (includes a t-shirt and virtual-climb toolkit); $35 for a virtual runner/walker, biker and gym stair climber (includes a t-shirt and virtual-climb toolkit; $50 for a climb supporter; and $20 for Kids, 4-12 (includes the after P=party, which is free for Children 3 & under.

“The FDNY knows that we’re here for them as long as they need us,” said Chief Siarnicki of the NFFF. “We’ve been able to bring this same promise to the fire service as a whole. Our trauma, grief and behavioral health counseling program is something we now offer to fire service organizations across the U.S. as they’re dealing with their own traumatic events and line-of-duty deaths.”

Go to firehero.org to read Chief Siarnicki’s article, “20th Anniversary of 9/11 Lessons Learned.”

The post Belmont Park Resumes Annual 9/11 Tribute To Firefighters appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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