Members of three Stevens Institute of Technology athletic programs - women's basketball, women's lacrosse, and women's soccer - participated in the 10th anniversary Tunnel to Towers Run inside the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel this past weekend. The teams joined 30,000 other runners to pay tribute to firefighter Stephen Siller, who lost his life on September 11, 2001.
Siller was a Brooklyn firefighter who, when he heard of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center, grabbed his sixty pounds of gear and headed for lower Manhattan. The Brooklyn Battery Tunnel was closed to car traffic when he arrived, so he ran through it and straight to the World Trade Center. He lost his life later that day in the towers.
“This was a run to honor those who risk their lives for the sake of others, and to support the Siller family,” said senior women's basketball player Jillian Barrett. “Stephen Siller’s family owns Ralph’s Ices right at the bottom of the hill on 8th Street, and we as a team have become very close with them over the years. A lot of our teammates have even worked there. It’s a nice way to connect with them.
“Running though the tunnel is a little tough, because it’s stuffy and there are people everywhere. But you see many firefighters, police officers and military members running with their full gear on and that really inspires you to keep going. Then once you finally see the light at the end – it’s a great feeling.”
This was the tenth anniversary of the 5-kilometer race. The event follows a course that starts in Brooklyn, heads through the tunnel and ends at Ground Zero. Proceeds from the race go to the Tunnel to Towers Fund’s ‘In the Line of Duty’ programs.
In the Line of Duty programs pay tribute to the 343 FDNY fallen brothers who sacrificed their lives on 9/11 by supporting the Weill-Cornell Burn Center and Burn Centers across America, and restores shattered lives by building homes for surviving quadriplegic servicemen returning from combat.
“It’s definitely an emotional day, but it’s more of a celebration of life and patriotism than a sad occasion,” said Barrett. “Especially being the 10-year anniversary, there was a lot of energy and spirit at this year’s race, with people from all over the world coming to help honor our heroes.”