Locals gather to kick off memorial walk
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- Organizers of an annual run are honoring some of America's bravest men and women who have made sacrifices defending our freedom.
Firefighter Stephen Siller was headed home after an overnight shift when he learned a plane crashed into the New York World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
He could not drive back into the city, so he grabbed 75 pounds of gear and ran three miles toward Ground Zero. He was never seen again.
Today, Siller's legacy lives on through men like United States Marine Corporal Todd Nicely. "On March 26, I stepped on an IED and lost all of my limbs. When I came too, I didn't realize how severely I had been injured, but when I was told I remember thinking to myself how am I going to do this?"
Nicely is doing it with the help of the Stephen Siller Foundation and the Tunnel To Towers 5K. The run started in New York but Fort Lauderdale is hosting its second annual race on Sept. 8. The race will take runners through the Henry E. Kinney tunnel.
Three thousand people participated last year and all money raised went to help build smart homes for veterans just like Nicely, who was in Fort Lauderdale Thursday for the kickoff event. "These fine gentlemen came and told me they were going to build me a home that was going to work for me instead of me work for it," Nicely said.
Nicely, a leader on the battlefield, is still leading from the front by keeping his promise to the foundation that helped change his life. "I told the foundation that since they were going to build a home for me, I would get down there and run and run a race for them," he said.
He ran and lead more than 20,000 people through the tunnel last year. The same New York tunnel where Siller made his heroic charge nearly 11 years ago.
For registration information go to Tunnel to Towers - Fort Lauderdale at http://www.tunneltotowersfortlauderdale5k.com/default.aspx
(Copyright 2012 by Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)