Four members of the Blairstown Police Department were among the roughly 32,000 participants in this year’s Tunnel to Towers run in New York on Sunday (Sept. 25).
The annual run retraces the steps of FDNY firefighter Stephen Siller, who ran through the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, carrying 60 pounds of gear, to the World Trade Center, where he died in the collapse of the twin towers.
“The Blairstown Police Department was honored to participate in such a worthy cause and to pay homage to all those who lost their lives on 9/11,” said Blairstown Police Chief Scott Johnsen.
Firefighter Siller, who was assigned to FDNY’s Squad 1 in Brooklyn, had finished his shift and was on his way to play golf with his brothers when he heard about the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and returned to his firehouse to get his gear but was unable to drive through the tunnel.
The annual 3.5-mile run, which raises money for the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, starts near the Brooklyn entrance to the tunnel, now known as the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel, and ends near the new World Trade Center in lower Manhattan.
Firefighter Siller’s brother, Frank Siller, launched the Tunnel to Towers Foundation in Stephen’s memory. The foundation has raised more than $250 million to provide financial support to first responders and their families, including building homes and paying off mortgages for families of firefighters and officers who die in the line of duty.
“We are proud to serve our community, and our officers are always looking for ways to give back to our community and beyond,” Chief Johnsen said, adding that while this was the first year his officers participated in the Tunnel to Towers run, the department hopes to make it a yearly event.