Photo courtesy of Tunnel to Towers
On Sept. 10 at the poignant location of Tempe Beach Park, the annual Tunnel to Towers Foundation Tempe 5K Run/Walk will unfurl its mission. Beginning at 8 a.m. and stationed at 80 W. Rio Salado Pkwy., the event not only commemorates the sacrifices of 9/11 heroes but also raises critical funds to support first responders, military service members, and their families.
Established in remembrance of Stephen Siller, a firefighter who lost his life during the 9/11 tragedy, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation has expanded its efforts nationwide. With over 80 events stretching across the U.S., the foundation ensures that the valor of fallen heroes is never forgotten.
“For many, grieving is an act of respect, but remembering is a blessing that we carry with us,” says John Herold, who lost his brother, Gary, in the World Trade Center’s South Tower. Alongside his wife, Stella, John has dedicated the past eight years to directing the Tempe event, transforming their personal loss into an avenue for healing and support. “Transforming grief into actions that benefit others is a testament to the spirit of those we’ve lost,” Herold adds.
Highlighting this year’s gathering, the Follow the Footsteps Award will be presented to a local public safety officer, exemplifying commitment and dedication. Further, the day will salute all of Arizona’s first responders, including firefighters, police officers, EMTs, paramedics, and brave military personnel.
The Tunnel to Towers Foundation’s commitment extends far beyond annual events. As a testament to its dedication, the nonprofit’s Smart Home program has constructed high-tech residences for catastrophically injured service members. Designed with modern technology, these homes allow heroes, particularly those rendered triple or quadruple amputees due to IED explosions, to lead dignified, independent lives. In addition, the foundation provides significant aid to families of fallen first responders, including mortgage support and assistance to Gold Star Families.
To partake in this noble cause, individuals can register for the event at runsignup.com/race/az/tempe/tunneltotowers5krunwalktempeaz. The foundation also welcomes donations and the selfless help of volunteers. For those keen to delve deeper into the Tunnel to Towers Foundation and its nationwide events, visit t2t.org/our-programs/national-run-walk-climb-series.