ODESSA, Fla. — First responders from around the Bay Area spent part of Saturday running in honor of the firefighters who died on September 11.
As a little boy captain David Garofalo knew he wanted to be a firefighter. For nearly three decades, he’s put himself in the line of fire to help others.
“We lay down our lives for other people if we have to. Obviously, it does take a lot of courage, but we don’t think about that. We think about when we’re doing the job, to save somebody,” said David Garofalo, Paramedic and Captain with Pasco County Fire Rescue.
To honor those firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice on 9/11, Garofalo and firefighters from around the Bay Area are running a 5K in full gear.
“It started with Stephen Siller. That morning he was trying to get there and he stopped the tunnel, pulled his truck over, grabbed his gear and ran through the tunnel. It was 60 lbs. of gear. Ultimately lost his life as soon as he got there,” Garofalo explained.
There were 343 FDNY firefighters that died that day. It’s the first time the Tunnel to Towers memorial run is being held in Pasco County.
“Currently that race is up to about 32,000 people in New York City. In order to spread the remembrance and get everybody to reflect, since not everybody can make it to New York City, they started making runs across America,” said Matt Handwerk, Director of Clearwater Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk.
Proceeds from the run will support fallen and injured first responders, military heroes and their families.
“These 343 that laid down their lives are proud looking down on us right now, that their memory is alive and that this foundation does what it does,” said Garofalo.