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Utah run honors first responders who served during 9/11

Posted at 7:12 AM, Sep 15, 2023

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah — More than two decades after the 9/11 attacks, Utahns are reflecting on the sacrifices made by first responders by participating in a unique run happening in Salt Lake County.

The Tunnel to Towers Run is a 5K run or walk taking place in Midvale on Saturday and will be well attended by Utah's first responders, as well as residents as they honor those who sacrificed everything to save lives.

Among the attendees will be Kelly Bird and his team with the Unified Fire Authority.

"That incident has always been a part of what is going on in my thought process and like everyone else I reflect very frequently on what happened," he told FOX 13 News.

Last year, firefighters suited up in 50 pounds of gear to complete the run alongside police officers, members of the military and others.

There's also a specific reason why the race is exactly five kilometers. It's to honor NYFD firefighter Steven Siller.

"He ran just under a 5K through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the towers," explained Tracy Weston, a volunteer race director with the event, "where he eventually laid down his life that day."

For Weston, the race is deeply personal as she comes from a family legacy of first responders.

"It's quite emotional when you see how hard they have to work for it," she reflected.

Race participants will run with a badge containing the name and photo of a first responder who died on 9/11. While everyone has their own, personal reasons for participating in the event, the common theme among all racers is to support those who selflessly run toward danger every single day on behalf of others.

"Most of us would say that we are just doing our job," Bird said. "But I think there is a certain personality and certain intuition that we want to help people. We have a genuine desire to do good and to help people in their most emergent needs."

After the race, proceeds raised from registration fees go to helping provide mortgage-free homes to Gold Star and fallen first responder families.