$1 per step. For Bill Price, a firefighter and registrant for the upcoming National Stair Climb for Fallen Firefighters, that seemed like a fitting fundraising goal. Specifically, $2,200 — a dollar for every step FDNY firefighters faced as they prepared to ascend the stairs in the World Trade Center on 9/11.
As of August 31, Price had exceeded that fundraising goal, and was still going. “Every dollar gets me one more step closer,” he says.
Various organizations hold stair climbs as fitness challenges and to honor those killed on 9/11. But the National Stair Climb is the first to honor all fallen firefighters and to take place in New York City, with the support of the FDNY. The event, presented by United Technologies, will be held Saturday, October 10, at Citi Field, and is open to the public.
Originally from New York, Price now lives in Virginia, where he is the captain of the fire department at Naval Station Norfolk. But he still feels a strong connection to the city. When he was in the Navy, Price was stationed at Staten Island. “Guys from FDNY came for a tour of the ship,” Price remembers. Later, Price followed suit, touring an FDNY station. He eventually became very close to FDNY firefighter Al Weber, who responded on 9/11 and lost several friends in the disaster.
Price started doing stair climbs in 2014 and works out at his local YMCA two to three times a week in full turnout gear. He brings the same energy and discipline to his fundraising efforts, which include mowing lawns and washing cars for donations, teaching a donation-based CPR class at the Y, and auctioning off two of his old helmets on which he inscribed the names of the 343 FDNY firefighters killed on 9/11. Price’s wife is even selling homemade Christmas stockings made out of old turnout gear to support the effort.
Participants in the National Stair Climb will climb 110 flights and will receive a name badge honoring or in memory of the firefighter they’re climbing for, as well as an event t-shirt. Anyone who wants to participate but can’t be in New York can join the Virtual Climb. Registration is $40 at www.nationalstairclimb.org or $50 on site the day of the event. Proceeds benefit the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the FDNY Counseling Services unit.
For Price, the fundraising effort is a key way to honor firefighters who have died in the line of duty. But doing the actual climb is just as important to him.
“Anyone can write a check,” he says. “A donation doesn’t mean as much unless you do something. As a firefighter it’s more fitting for me to try to do this myself and remember what those guys went through together.”
For more information: www.nationalstairclimb.org
- Register Now: www.nationalstairclimb.org
- FDNY, National Fallen Firefighters Foundation Honor Nation’s Bravest
- Honor our fallen fire heroes by climbing at Citi Field