Tom Mullins is climbing. Are you?

Why should you participate in the National Stair Climb for Fallen Firefighters? Tom Mullins, son of fallen firefighter Dennis Mullins, Jr. of the Mount Vernon (NY) Fire Department, believes it’s important to acknowledge the job our firefighters do every day without asking for accolades and at great risk to their safety and lives.

“Personally, this event is recognition of the sacrifice that my father made and seeing others participate shows me that I am not alone,” Tom explained.

“Too many people have this image of firefighter as a red suspender wearing, checkers playing person that gets to sleep on the job. They do not know what it is like to be woken from a deep sleep with the clanging of alarm bells and then have to jump into action.”

Dennis Mullins

Firefighter Dennis J. Mullins, Jr.

Firefighter Mullins, a 34-year veteran, and highly decorated firefighter in Mount Vernon, NY, made the ultimate sacrifice in 1995. Working an active fire in January 1994, he collapsed of a heart attack while pulling a line to a hydrant. He never regained consciousness, remaining in a vegetative state for 371 days. He succumbed to his injuries on January 18, 1995. He was just 59 years old.

» Read about Dennis Mullins on the Roll of Honor

Tom experienced what firefighters go through first-hand when his father was initially brought to the hospital. Tom lived two hours away and stayed at the hospital for 3 days and nights not knowing if his dad was going to survive the night. “The fire chief then offered me his quarters at headquarters so I might be more comfortable. The City of Mt. Vernon is a busy urban city and I was awoken by those bells several times a night. It was unnerving to say the least,” he said.

Tom believes the National Stair Climb for Fallen Firefighters is important because it allows people to show they care about and support the fire service and fire service survivors while being around firefighters, sometimes for the first time.

“This climb brings to the forefront those that have made the ultimate sacrifice most times for people they do not even know,” he said. “By participating in the climb, a lay person can experience the physical demands that are entailed in the job of a firefighter. It gives an opportunity to walk in their boots, if only for a few hours.”

Tim Mullin’s story is just one of thousands. Participating in the National Stair Climb for Fallen Firefighters is the best way to show others that you will remember the sacrifices of these fallen heroes and support the fire service.