Average Jake Firefighter Blog

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Richmond Va 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb

Posted by hdf561 on September 11, 2011


Well I did it, this morning I climbed 110 stories in honor of the 343 brothers who were murdered on 9/11/01 by faceless terrorists who tried to destroy our way of life, and our country.

Its been several hours since the climb, and even while I sit here writing this I am still struggling to get out how I feel, and the direction I want this post to go. Bottom line is folks I am not an emotional guy, I typically find emotional gestures as cheesy, or over the top. In fact I can only remember truly crying twice in my adult life (when both my Grandfathers died) so at this rate I think I only have about 4 more times that I may ever cry in my life (when my Grandmothers die, and when my Parents die, hopefully my wife and me will either go together or she out lives me).

However I went through a lot of different emotions, and while I did not cry I was definitely moved, and touched by what I saw and participated in today. I’ll explain:

Pride/Honor: First of all I was proud of the turnout that was there this morning, a lot of people sacrificed their weekend in order to do this

 Look at all those Fireman, I was DAMN proud to share a building with each and every one of them.

I was also proud and honored to carry the name and picture of Firefighter David Halderman Squad 18

 David Halderman is now a big part of me, and I will not only never forget 9/11 I will never forget him, and his sacrifice.

Lastly I was proud of 2 individuals

 First City of Richmond Fireman from Rescue Company 2 and most importantly my brother Danny O. Danny had to peel off for a break early on in the climb, but he did not let that stop him. When he was done I asked him if he was glad he did it, and he gave the answer I knew he would “There was no way I was not gonna do it”

 Second my the Emergency Operations Assistant Manager for the Virginia Office of EMS, the President of East Hanover Volunteer Rescue Squad, and most importantly my wife Karen. A lot of people do not know this but during the Pentagon attack the VA EMS task forces were deployed, Karen’s job is the training, and management of those resources. Sometimes that means working the VA EOC, but on 9/11 she like so many others responded to the Pentagon to help. On top of that she is a mother of 2, a cancer survivor, and my wife so you know she has it rough everyday! She climbed the entire climb with me, and the only break we took was the elevator ride down! She did awesome.

Anger: Yea I said anger, I’m sure some of you are wondering how could anyone feel anger at an event like this? Well my anger had many levels. First while the turnout was good there is still no excuse for the Metro Richmond Area to not be able to fill up 343 spots. We couldn’t do it and I was a little peeved about that.

Second where were the chiefs? 98% of those climbing were fireman and company officers only 1 Chief of Department made the climb and that was Chief of the Richmond Fire Department Robert Creecy. Like or love hom he strapped on his DRESS UNIFORM (even down to the corafam shoes) and made the climb. No other Chief of Department made the climb. This really upset me, all of this talk about brotherhood, and doing the right thing, and they could not show the respect that was due and make the climb or for that matter even show up and give support to the men and women who were making the climb. Sadly there is a lot of brotherhood talk, but the ones who showed up today literally walk the walk of brotherhood. It’s hard to follow leaders who can’t make a small sacrifice.

Brotherhood: It was overwhelming, there were no strangers today, we were all 1 fire department, with one mission. When i was done with my climb me and Karen stayed to cheer on everyone else, we stayed until the last person rang the bell and I will admit every time someone rang the bell and said a name of a fallen brother I did get choked up.

Here are some more pictures:

 Henrico Fire Truck 6, and City of Richmond Quint 6

 343

 Heading up Lap 1 of 5

 Most of the Henrico Firefighters who made the climb

All in all it was a great day, a great tribute, and a great event. A big thanks to the City of Richmond Fire Department for hosting the event, and continuing to prove why they are the Capital City Fire Department.

Never Forget/343

As usual thanks for reading, spread the word and STAY SAFE!

7 Responses to “Richmond Va 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb”

  1. […] Read about the event from this bloggers point of view, including pictures (averagejakeff blog) […]

  2. […] @redskins great win….HTTR! 20 hours ago « Richmond Va 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb […]

  3. Robby, kudos to you in your writing of this article. I wasn’t there, and wanted to be, but had a wedding to be at… it chokes me up reading about this and looking at the pictures. It sounded awesome, and it is very disappointing that with all the departments that preach the “Brotherhood” and all the people walking around with the Brotherhood tattoos and shirts, writing books about it and everything else, that 343 people couldn’t come together for this event… and honor the people that died for us, and for this country just for a few hours of their day…

    You all did something great this past weekend, and will carry that with you forever… and I am happy to know you guys. Strong work!!!

  4. […] Average Jake FF on the Richmond Climb […]

  5. Strong work.
    Impressive with Creecy doing it too.Maybe I can respect that guy after all.The City of Richmond fire capt of Training was climbing in full gear, strapped with an airpack. And so were Richmond Fire marshals. I don’t need to tell you that, that is the way to demonstrate leadership, you know, by actually leading in example. There is a lot of negativity on both sides but sometimes I get the feeling that these guys that wear white shirts and have positions in the office, actually hate firefighters out here on the street. That they think they are better than us mere mortals, and too busy and got to much important jobs to do, than to climb.

    • hdf561 said

      FIrst off thanks for the kind words….I saw several guys from multiple departments making a statement by climbing in full gear, SCBA, carrying tools, and on air. While its not a race, and no ego should be involved those guys are harder men than me….even with working out alot, and making significant life changes and dropping close to pounds (From 216 to 176) I was not ready for something like that I dont think, its kinda like when I ran my first road race I had really no idea how to train for it or what to expect but once I did, I have been able to make improvements every time out. Next time (and there will be a next time) I will be ready to up my tribute. That being said no one who made that climb today no matter what they were wearing should be dissapointed, it was a hot, long, smelly, brutal climb no matter what you had on.

      As for the “White Shirts” Ill be honest I do not know what they think sometimes. They seem to not realize that simple gestures like this go alot longer with the boots on the street than things like t-shirts, and really nice toilet paper. The only thing that I and anyone else can do is to learn from these “experiences” and do not repeat them in the future if/when we ever don the white shirts and gold badges.

      As for the RFD CHief, like I said in the post love him, like him, or hate him….he did the right thing today and climbed those stairs, and supported his troops. At the end of the day you cant ask for much more. Just being there was more than everyother department got from there chief.

      Take it easy brother, and keep fighting the good fights.

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