NEW YORK (PIX11) — About 35,000 runners are expected to participate in the 20th Tunnel to Towers 5K Run and Walk Sunday in New York City.
The event kicks off in Red Hook, Brooklyn at 9:30 a.m. and retraces the steps of late FDNY firefighter Stephen Siller. On 9/11, Siller ran through Brooklyn Battery Tunnel wearing 60 pounds of his gear to rescue people from the Twin Towers.
“As a family, we decided that we were going to start this foundation in honor of him, but honestly, we wanted to make sure from the very first run that we honored all those who perished that day but most certainly our first responders,” said Frank Siller, Stephen’s brother and the CEO and chairman of Tunnel To Towers.
Like every year, the 5K will honor the lives lost on 9/11 and after the terror attack at home and around the world. The event also focuses on the military. This year, 13 service members who were killed during the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan will be remembered.
“Six of those families are going to be joining us,” Siller said. “We’re going to read those names out loud and were going to make sure they realize that they’re part of those names that we’re never going to forget.”
While honoring the lives of those lost is a key component, supporting military members, first responders and their families is also a priority, he added.
“They go out every day, they give their kids a kiss goodbye and if they don’t come home, Tunnel to Towers foundation is going to be the foundation that takes care of them,” Siller said. “If they don’t have a home, we build them a home, mortgage-free. For our catastrophically injured service members or first responders that give their bodies for our country, we’re going to give them a mortgage-free smart home.”
Country singer Dierks Bentley will be performing at the event. He hits the stage at 12:30 p.m.