The Arizona 9/11 “Never Forgotten” Tower Challenge is believed to be the nation’s largest Sept. 11 memorial event using exclusively first responders, military members and their families.  Last year over 2,000 participants accepted the challenge to climb 2,071 steps, equal to the number of floors in the World Trade Center Towers. The event has raised nearly $200,000 for charities that support military and first responder families.

Tower Challenge

Rob Brandt is a Tucson Police Dept. Sergeant and President of the 9/11 Tower Challenge Foundation.

“We wanted to have a memorial but not a sorrowful type, somber memorial. We wanted to challenge everyone participating to remember that we are Americans. We have always been survivors as a nation.”

Some climbers complete the challenge in full gear. The climb routes at all locations are lined with photos of the first responders killed responding to the World Trade Centers.  Many participants find that staring into the eyes of these brave men & women gives them extra inspiration to complete the climb.

Angela Harrolle is President & CEO of the 100 Club of Arizona. Their mission is to provide financial assistance to the families of first responders who are seriously injured or killed in the line of duty. They also fund equipment purchases to enhance the safety of officers and firefighters. She spent 10 years as a federal special agent. Her husband was a firefighter/paramedic who gave his life in the line of duty and Angela was just north of the Pentagon when the attacks took place.

Veteran and national touring comedian Bobby Henline will be headlining a special pre-event fundraiser in Tucson Sept. 10. Bobby is a Veteran of Operation Desert Storm who was inspired to re-enlist following the Sept. 11 attacks.

Bobby has learned over the years that artistic and creative outlets can be therapeutic. His new foundation (Forging Forward Foundation) assists Veterans by helping them develop creative outlets as a way to take their minds off of challenges.

TAKEAWAY: “We always want to talk about what’s wrong with us but we need to remember what’s strong with us too.”