APTOS, Calif. - First responders from Santa Cruz County took on the stairs at Seacliff State Beach in Aptos Wednesday morning to honor the men and women who gave their lives in hopes of saving others 18 years ago.
Aptos-La Selva firefighter Steve Vratny brought the idea to his coworkers several months ago and said they were immediately on board.
Today, dozens of men and women, most in full turnouts, walked up and down the stairs 13 times. Equivalent to the 110 floors first responders had to climb during the attack.
“It's kind of a somber moment when you're walking up and you're thinking about if you had to do this in full gear, breathing liaison, breathing air watching everyone coming down the stairs. For us it's an honor to represent the fallen, representing an individual going up and just think about their families and what they had to go through,” said firefighter James Collender.
Organizers said they plan to make this a tradition from here on out and hope to bring in more people each year.
The event raised close to $2,000 which will go towards 9/11 first responders memorial funds.
Vratny said he was excited to see everything come together and it reminds him why he puts his uniform on.
“For this is about never forgetting the 343 and 60 law enforcement officers and just honoring the sacrifice of the heroes that gave all in the hopes that others could live,” said Vratny.