APOPKA, Fla (WOFL FOX 35) - Chris Lenihan has been a firefighter for the city of Apopka for five years, and every single day he thinks of September 11, 2001."When people call us, it's their worse day. Hopefully we can make it better," Lenihan said.
However no one could make that day any better. As America mourned, Chris had to process a bitter irony. His uncle, Brian Fahey, was a New York City Firefighter who died on Father's Day three months before 9-11 when his entire crew died at the World Trade Center. "I debated that for a long time with family members, whether he was going to be there or if he wasn't going to be there. If there was a truck going off, you're jumping the truck," Lenihan said.
So Chris believes his uncle would be gone even if he hadn't died fighting a fire in June. That is a big reason why he's packing up 100 pounds of gear and heading to New York City with eight other Apopka firefighters and one Apopka police officer for the second annual Firefighters Stair Climb in New York.
They've been training at Orlando's 28-story Bank of America Building to ascend the 72 floors of the newly constructed 4 World Trade Center. When asked, "when you get to the top of the Bank of America building, how do you feel?" Chris responds chuckling, "not like I want to do it again."
But he will be one of 343 firefighters from around the world who will make the climb Sunday. Each will represent one firefighter who died there on 9-11. "I think the main reason we're going is because we're Americans," explained Lenihan. "We'll show we're here, Apopka is here, show our pride in the city in the United States."
The climb honors those who serve in a different capacity too. Money raised goes to a nonprofit that supports our country's veterans.
For more information on this Sunday's event please visit the New York City Firefight Stair Climb website.