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Local firefighters climb in memory of 9/11

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Tim McSweeney. Until a few months ago, this name meant nothing to firefighter Chris Muscle. But all it took was one phone call, and the Argyle Volunteer Fire department Honor Guard Commander agreed to climb 110 stories, in full bunker gear in what could likely be 110 degree weather in McSweeney’s honor.

McSweeney was one of the 343 firefighters who lost their lives during the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and Muscle said, not only does he not mind making the climb, but said it will be an honor for him.

“When I first found out about it, I brought it up to some of my guys,” Muscle said. “It’s really a brotherhood thing. They may not know those guys or have never met them, but as firefighters, you just kind of feel like you have that connection.”

On Sept. 11, 2011, firefighters from across North Texas will travel to a skyscraper in Dallas and climb 110 stories in full protective gear to honor those firefighters who gave their lives on that fateful day 10 years ago.

Muscle said when his men learned of the event, they were all extremely enthusiastic.

“For us, there is no greater honor to remember those guys,” Muscle said. “Each firefighter is climbing for a specific New York firefighter. As time has gone by, we have felt more a personal connection with those Ladder 3 guys, the company that we are climbing for, personally.”

Muscle is a member of the Texas Line of Duty Death Task Force, and said he received a call from the director of that organization, Wendy Norris, who knew some of the firefighters who perished on 9-11 personally.

“Basically, she asked if I would climb for a personal friend of hers, and I said I would be honored to,” Muscle said. “I told her that our team would be honored to do so, as well.”

Joshua Mills is one AVFD firefighter who said he could imagine nothing better than participating in the 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb.

“To me, one of the greatest things is to honor somebody who has fallen in the line of duty,” Mills said. “The little bit of inconvenience it is going to be to climb 110 stories is nothing compared to what those guys had to go through.”

AVFD firefighter Mike Ford said he would like to see the 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb become an annual event that would allow the AVFD and other local firehouses to honor every fallen firefighter each year.

“These firefighters made the ultimate sacrifices by giving their lives,” Ford said. “These men went into a structure they know is a very dangerous situation, and it was just to try to save lives. It’s such a major event in our history, and firefighters have a pretty close-knit relationship, whether you know each other personally or not. It is a way for us to show our respect for what they did.”

Visit www.dallasstairclimb.com for more information on the event.

 

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