SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Hundreds of people gathered in Scottsdale Saturday to honor victims of the September 11 attacks with a memorial stair climb.
The fourth annual United Salt River Firefighters 9/11 Memorial stair climb was held at the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale.
Doors opened at 7 a.m. Opening ceremonies started at 8 a.m.
Registration was $30. Money raised goes to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the East Valley Firefighters Relief Fund which helps first responders hurt or killed in the line of duty or sickened by job-related cancer.
Organizers say the nearly 3,000 steps participants climb at Salt River Fields represent the number of steps in the 110 stories of the World Trade Center towers.
The event was open to the public.
"This is a really good opportunity for the community to get out and interact on a face-to-face basis with their first responders their firefighters, their police and kind of get to know us and see what we do," explained organizer and Salt River Firefighter Riley Murph.
Jane Foley-Graeff from Gilbert lived in upstate New York at the time of the 9/11 terror attacks.
She remembers seeing the planes crashing into the World Trade Center towers on TV while at the Post Office.
She doesn't have any connection to local first responders, but wanted to show her support by participating in the stair climb.
Dozens of Salt River firefighters and firefighters from different departments completed the stair climb in full gear, some weighing as much as 60 pounds.
Some had to take breaks because of the heat.
"Any extra support and motivation makes you want to dig deep and really want to push through not only for them but for our brothers and sisters who lost their lives," said Salt River Fire Captain Daniel Schuelke.
The 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb was not a timed race event, but a way to honor the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) firefighters, police and EMS who selflessly gave their lives on September 11, 2001.
Each participant pays tribute to an FDNY firefighter, police officer, or EMS by climbing the equivalent of the 110 stories of the World Trade Center.
Each climber was issued a tag with the name and picture of one of the fallen to carry throughout the climb, symbolically completing their journey to the top of the world Trade Center Towers.