A 9/11 silent stair climb was held at Waldo Stadium on Tuesday, the first time an event like this has occurred in Kalamazoo. The number of steps climbed was equal to the number firefighters climbed during 9/11 as they scaled the twin towers of the World Trade Center.
Three different climbs were available for this event. The mini climb, which was 1,113 steps that were counting both up and down, a medium climb, that was 2,226 steps counting that were both up and down, and a full climb, that was 2,226 steps that were only counting up.
The proceeds from the stair climb were split 50/50 between the Cuff & Ladder Fund and the Veterans and Dependents Scholarship Fund for military students at WMU.
The event was put together by Military Advocate Ashley Goodwin along with the help of sponsors, Kellogg and Stryker, along with other individuals.
"It’s for our community, for our country,” Goodwin said when asked why she believed it was important to support events like this, “Just remembering how we’ve grown and changed and what’s made us as united as we are now. I think this event can help with that.”
Sponsors Kellogg and Stryker helped provide for the silent stair climb in different ways.
“We thought we would bring what we do best which is food,” said Niki Ramírez, University Relations Manager at Kellogg. Kellogg supplied a whole breakfast including different kinds of cereal, Pop-Tarts, Eggo Waffles, etc., for those who finished the climb.
Stryker was invited to speak to those who were interested in internships and full-time opportunities with the organizations there. They discussed the requirements and the application process to those who attended the event.
Billy Clayton, Army ROTC Scholarship and Enrollment Officer at WMU, also helped plan this event.
“It’s very easy to forget something,” Clayton said about the event, “If you’re not constantly putting this into somebody’s thought process, it's easy to forget. So, being able to put on events like this...it gives our office [Army ROTC] an opportunity to showcase the sacrifices as well as the benefits of our military student population.”
Some students as well as citizens in Kalamazoo registered for the stair climb, many believing it was a way to show their respects to those who lost their lives on 9/11
“We have to honor bravery and patriotism,” said Junior Marshall Kilgore, “It’s important that in our everyday life, being a student, being a nurse, being a teacher, or whatever your job is. We get to do that, and we are blessed to do that by those who are brave and courageous. Those who we lost on 9/11 and those who fought to save our fellow Americans cannot be forgotten.”