Monday, May 18, 2015

True Heroes


I am so very proud of my nephew Patrick--pictured on the right in the photo collage above--who participated on Sunday, May 17th, 2015, in the first ever "Tunnel to Towers Tower Climb."  He and another 999 participants climbed over approximately 2,000 steps to go 90 stories high in the new One World Trade Center in Manhattan, New York, that was built to replace the Twin Towers that were attacked and destroyed on 9-11-2001.  The participants were from 26 states and four countries, male and female, firefighters, military members, friends and family members of fallen first responders, among others.  My nephew was honoring his father, my brother, who was a New York City firefighter for almost 30 years. The Tunnel to Towers Foundation was formed to honor Stephen Stiller, one of the 343 fire fighters who lost their lives on 9-11.  His heroic story can be read on this link.

Captain Billy Burke. photo source.

The Tower Climb was also in memory of firefighter Captain Billy Burke, who lost his life on the 27th floor of Tower One, as he was helping two trapped men, one of whom was in a wheelchair, trying to escape the burning building.  Tower Two had already collapsed and Tower One was soon going to do the same, but Capetian Burke told the other firefighters to leave, as he would stay with the men on the stairs.  His last words were: " Keep going, I'm right behind you."  Captain Burke's sister came from Florida to do the climb--you can read her story and see a video of how she trained for the climb on this link.


Building For America's Bravest video can also be watched on this link.

To participate in this event my nephew had to pay an entrance fee and he also fundraised to support the foundation "Building For America's Bravest" that builds smart homes" for catastrophically wounded soldiers, most who are double, triple and even quadruple amputees. The smart homes allow amputees to be able to live as normally as possible with their injuries. One such veteran, Army Sgt. Bryan Dilberian, a triple amputee, who lost both legs and his left arm, when he stepped on a IED in Afghanistan in 2011,  joined in the Tower Climb today, climbing up the stairs on his prostheses! You can see a short video interview with him and read his story on this link. My nephew was very inspired when he saw Bryan climbing the stairs, and when he saw him complete the task!


Patrick has made my family proud before, as he is also a brave mountain climber when he is not teaching high school language arts classes, and being a loving husband and father of two daughters. I blogged about his ascent to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro on this post.  He has since climbed Mt. Rainier, and Mt. Washington. He also entered the Tower To Tunnel race last year but a last minute injury prevented his run.  Never-the-less, the money he raised for that event went towards the Tower to Tunnel Foundations's many wonderful charity causes.  Patrick made the 2,000 plus step Tower Climb climb in 27:28 minutes, accomplishing his goal of doing it in under 30 minutes. Patrick, you are a true hero among heroes!  We are so proud of your accomplishments!


If you would like to donate for this very worthy cause, Building For America's Bravestyou can do so on this link. These men gave so much and deserve our support to help live the rest of their lives as functionally as possible in a handicap accessible home of their own. The waiting list for such a home is so long--please consider helping these true heroes.

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39 comments:

Cindy @ Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home said...

Congratulations to Patrick in beating his time, a true hero! I celebrate with you, Patrick and all those heroes who so bravely put their lives in danger and often lose them for their fellow man. Beautiful post!

Cathy said...

Thank you Pat for sharing. I will always have a place in my heart for firefighters.

Sara D.B. said...

Thank you for this beautiful post, Pat!
We all owe much to this kind of men and women.

eileeninmd said...

Wonderful post, Pat! Your nephew has made the family proud! He is a hero. Great story and post. Thanks for sharing. Have a happy day and week ahead!

SmilingSally said...

Hi Pat,

Patrick not only represents your family, but English teachers--of which I am one! Thanks for playing today.

Have a Beautiful Blue Monday!

Gayle said...

Pat, Give your nephew a big thank you from me.
My nephew and fiancé recently found they will have a home, customized for his needs. He is an veteran amputee having served in Afghanistan.
People helping People - a good thing.

Vee said...

That's wonderful! No wonder you are proud of his many
accomplishments. It is always meaningful to give back. Mt. Washington, eh? That's fun to know.

Rajesh said...

Salute the brave hearts.

Donna said...

Funny how this got little press throughout NYS...such an amazing climb...all who participated are amazing people including your nephew...I feel such pride for all these wonderful people.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Yes, he climbed Mt Washington with a group of other climbers. They battled 70 mile per hour winds and white out snow near the summit, but made it!

Jeanne said...

Pat, this post made me cry. I still can't get over the many heros and innocent people who lost their lives. Many trying to help others. Your nephew is an amazing guy and I too am so proud of him and everyone who made that climb. Especially the soldier who was a triple amputee. Wow, I am humbled by such bravery.

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. We lost an acquaintance, a young man in 911. He was my niece's best friend's finance. We met him and knew him to be such a nice guy. Such terrible loss of so many loved ones from this attack on the US, one just cannot forget.

Your nephew is definitely a hero.

Hugs,
Jeanne

Ann, Chen Jie Xue 陈洁雪 said...

did he train hard before he climbed?

Betsy Adams said...

I saw some of that on TV. BUT --had no idea that you had a family member involved. I know how proud you are (and ALL of us are) of Patrick...

It's still very sad for me to think about all of the wonderful people we lost on 9/11.. This post made me teary. Beautiful story.. Thanks for sharing--and please tell Patrick THANKS from me.

Hugs,
Betsy

Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

Congratulations to Patrick for making this climb and raising funds for a worthy cause. Although my husband didn't travel to NY to help after the disaster, many of his Toronto Fire brothers did and it affected them deeply.
Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday Pat.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Kudos to your nephew and to the organizers of the event. What a great story this event is.

ladyfi said...

Well done Patrick! What a great event.

Parsimonious Perfection said...

Pat, thank you for sharing this touching post! God bless all the selfless givers, and those who tragically lost their lives or loved ones on that fateful day. Your nephew sounds like a fine person!

From the Kitchen said...

This sort of thing makes me proud to be an American!
The bravery of many on that day is amazing--that which we know about and much which we don't. Kudos to your nephew for honoring all.

Best,
Bonnie

Linda Kay said...

Pat, my son is a volunteer firefighter and I don't even want to think about the dangers that could be around him at times. Great tribute.

Barb said...

Thank you, Patrick, for your climb to raise awareness and money for those less fortunate. Great article, Pat.

Nancy's Notes said...

What a beautiful post and tribute to your nephew, what a hero and great American. I will forever and ever have respect and a place in my heart for firefighters.

Nancy

edenhills said...

What an amazing tribute!

NC Sue said...

What a grand nephew you have!
Thanks for sharing at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2015/05/textures.html

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Wow, your nephew is to be commended, as are all the others who made the climb. What a feat!

bettyl-NZ said...

What a wonderful thing to do! I can see how you'd be proud of him. This is a great thing for all the participants to help those who really need it and deserve it.

La Petite Gallery said...

This brought tears to my eyes. So many
were lost. I am proud too. What a beautiful tribute. Congrats.
yvonne

diane b said...

He sure is a hero. He has done some amazing climbs.
It was a great idea for remembering the brave firefighters.

Gracie said...

Bravo to your nephew and congratulations to hima and all the other who joined him in this so good cause!

Annesphamily said...

Beautiful share Pat! Denver has a smaller version of this because my hubby
s co worker always trains and participates and I am am not sure what the fund raising is for but a good cause for sure! At Sundays graduation party for my grandson Colton I was visiting with my nephew Josh's wife Kathryn. She is a NYC native growing up in Long Island and her dad is a police officer. We discussed the hatred toward police today. Such sad times. I love seeing such wonderful uplifting stories. Thanks again for the share and enjoy your week.

The Glamorous Gourmet said...

Wow - you're nephew sounds like a really amazing guy - Congratulations to him for completing this daunting challenge for such a wonderful cause! My husband and I are involved with an organization called Honor Flight which sends WWII Vets to DC for the day to see their Memorial which most of then haven't ever seen. They are always looking for guardians to escort the vets and your nephew sounds like a perfect candidate if he hasn't done it already. Thanks for spreading the word about these True Heros ~ Cheers!

LV said...

How nice it would be just to climb ten steps and keep breathing. Marvelous feat.

TexWisGirl said...

i got chills reading through your post. an honorable feat all the way around.

Grace said...

This was beautiful! Thank you for sharing. Congrats to your nephew Grace xoox

carol l mckenna said...

Wonderful post and tribute! Beautiful!

Happy Weekend coming to you,
artmusedog and carol

Al said...

Congratulations to Patrick! I'll try to visit that building when I'm next in NYC, but I won't be climbing the stairs. And yes, where's our Colorado sunshine???

Hannah said...

My daughter and sister's family were in NYC at the time of 9/11 but not close to the Twin Towers. I am glad they rebuilt the World Trade Center and honored the fallen heroes in the fire dept. and elsewhere, it's great that your nephew Patrick could participate, the story of the man who made the climb as a triple amputee is really amazing, a triumph of the human spirit.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Your nephew is a true hero himself in so many ways. Thank you for sharing his story and linking to the other inspiring stories.

Daniela said...

Congratulations to patrick and a big 'Hurrà' for him !!!
Your posts are always so fascinating and interesting .... more and more, it's such a joy to come and meet you here, my sweet friend, have a wonderful Sunday !
Sending love, with gratitude
Dany

Roz Corieri Paige said...

What an accomplishment for your nephew Patrick . . . and such an honorable thing to do. I love your posts Pat, always so meaningful!