Wayne Community College’s Public Safety Division will hold an event to honor the responders who lost their lives as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
In what has become an annual activity at the college, on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018, paramedic students and basic law enforcement cadets, joined by some of their professional brethren, will climb 78 flights of stairs to pay tribute to the first responders who perished.
The public is invited to witness the event and cheer on the participants. The climb will begin at approximately 9:30 a.m. on the external staircases and the breezeway across the outside of the Magnolia Building (facing the campus’ quad). It ends when all participants have finished.
Prior to the climb, the students and any firefighters, law enforcement officers, and emergency medical technicians who wish to join them will gather for a short talk about the events of 9/11 and the meaning of the run. They will review the names of the 403 public safety personnel – 343 New York City Fire Department firefighters, 23 New York City Police Department officers, and 37 Port Authority Police Department officers – who died in the line of duty that day, and each will choose an individual to whom they will dedicate their efforts.
The participants will then suit up and have a moment of reflection.
They will move to the Magnolia Building where they will complete 39 laps which equals 78 flights by running up one exterior stairwell, across the breezeway, and down the other exterior stairwell. The 78 floors mark the highest level first responders were able to reach in the World Trade Center’s South Tower before it collapsed.
In 2017, the N.C. General Assembly designated Sept. 11 of each year as “North Carolina First Responder Day” to recognize the huge sacrifices made by first responders at the World Trade Center attack in New York.
More about WCC’s Climb
The paramedic students and firefighters will wear turnout gear and carry equipment such as tanks and hoses that add 50 to 75 pounds to their bodies. Law enforcement cadets and officers wear body armor or tactical vests and belts with tools of their profession.
As the event progresses, law enforcement cadets usually take some of the clothing and equipment from their first responder brethren and wear and carry it. They have also been known to continue the circuit beyond the target number of laps so that everyone finishes together.
WCC Paramedic Instructor David Cuddeback initiated the run and leads the students in the memorial exercise every year. Remembering and honoring those who sacrificed their lives is important, he said. Having his students thinking about specific individuals while experiencing some of what they did, drives home the concept of selflessness.
Wayne Community College is a public, learning-centered institution with an open-door admission policy located in Goldsboro, N.C. As it works to develop a highly skilled and competitive workforce, the college serves 12,000 individuals annually as well as businesses, industry, and community organizations with high quality, affordable, accessible learning opportunities, including more than 70 college credit programs. WCC’s mission is to meet the educational, training, and cultural needs of the communities it serves.