Why should anyone participate in the National Stair Climb for Fallen Firefighters? Not only does it help raise important funds and awareness for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the Counseling Services Unit of the Fire Department of New York, it also demonstrates to the survivors of the fallen that they are not forgotten.
Rhonda O’Callaghan and her children, Rhiannon and Connor, are the survivors of Captain Daniel O’Callaghan of Ladder 4 in Manhattan who died in the line of duty with 14 other firefighters from Ladder 4/Engine 54/Battalion 9 on September 11, 2001.
Rhonda and Connor participated in the inaugural climb in 2015 and will be there again this year. You can join them and many others.
“I wanted to participate in the stair climb with my son last year to show appreciation to an organization that was there for my family,” she said. “What we gained was so much more. That morning we met two firefighters from Fort Walton Beach, FL who had just driven up to NY to participate in the climb. They did the climb with full gear, mask, tank, and a hose with all the names of those who died on 9/11. Climbing behind them showed what true strength and determination is. It also gave my son a look at the closeness of the fire department, how they work together, and look out not only for each other but for us too.”
Daniel was recovered with his men in the South Tower in March 2002, for which Rhonda and the family are grateful.
“My husband, Daniel, was a kind man who lived life to the fullest. He loved helping others and always seemed to have a big smile on his face. Wearing the badge with his picture on it and seeing all the other firefighters’ faces who also gave their lives that day was truly inspiring as we climbed. Connor and I were honored to participate in the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation Climb in Daniel’s memory.”
The O’Callaghan’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.