Mark Leddy lives in Annapolis, Maryland, but considers himself both a New Yorker and an Aggie to the core. He believes, like other New Yorkers and Aggies he knows, it’s important to step-up and help others. Although he is not a firefighter, he feels deep respect and gratitude for our nation’s firefighters who willingly put their lives on the line every day to answer a stranger’s call for help.
That’s why he’s registered for the first National Stair Climb for Fallen Firefighters presented by United Technologies on Saturday, October 10 at Citi Field in New York from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm.
Growing up on Long Island and Queens, Leddy vividly remembers trips to Manhattan as a middle-school student and his favorite view of the majestic skyline – the Twin Towers. He attended Texas A&M and fondly remembers the traditional Aggie Bonfire that burned before the annual football game versus the University of Texas. The iconic images of both places are deeply etched in his mind and his heart.
Although it had been 16 years since he lived in New York, like most of us, he felt devastated when he heard the news about the attacks on the Twin Towers. It also brought back memories from two years earlier when 12 students at Texas A&M were killed when the bonfire collapsed during construction.
Leddy didn’t know anyone who died during either tragedy, but he felt a profound sense of loss. “Aggies are “family” – and losing 12 brothers and sisters hurt deeply,” he explained. “So, when the Towers came down on that morning in 2001, every emotion I had from the Bonfire collapse came back – and did so tenfold.”
When he learned about the National Stair Climb for Fallen Firefighters, Leddy registered without hesitation. “I believed, as a New Yorker and as an American, it was my duty to do something to help the families and to honor those who gave of themselves without asking, ‘What is in it for me?’” he said.
Mark Leddy will be joining hundreds of others to honor these heroes and support their survivors. Participants will climb 2,200 steps in Citi Field to represent the 110 stories of the World Trade Center Towers. Together, they will symbolically complete the climb for those 343 members of FDNY – and all other firefighters who have died in the line of duty.
“The National Stair Climb is a tremendous way to honor all firefighters from across our country who have made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Chief Ronald J. Siarnicki, executive director of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. “This climb is also a way to let the families know the legacies of their loved ones are remembered by so many.”
The Climb is open to the public. Everyone will receive a name badge honoring or in memory of the firefighter they have chosen to climb for. Check-in begins at 7:30 am at Citi Field (Gate 1) with the opening ceremony starting at 8:40 am. Parking is free. The proceeds will benefit the FDNY Counseling Services Unit (CSU) and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF).
“I feel blessed that there are so many individuals and families out there that will put themselves in harm’s way every day so that the rest of us can carry on,” Leddy said. “Doing (the climb) is my way of helping and my way to tell the families of the 343 and families of fallen firefighters all over, ‘You are never alone.’”
- Register Now: www.nationalstairclimb.org
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- Honor our fallen fire heroes by climbing at Citi Field