Tens of thousands of runners followed in the footsteps of New York City firefighter Stephen Siller last week in the Tunnel to Towers Run.
The 5k course starts just outside of the entrance to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and ends at Ground Zero to honor Siller’s actions on September 11, 2001. That morning Siller was headed home from a night shift when he heard the emergency call on his scanner. Because traffic was not being allowed through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel he got out of his vehicle strapped on his gear (roughly 70 lbs.) and ran to the World Trade Center towers on foot. The father of five never made it home that day.
The race, now it its tenth year, draws participants from all over the country. Many firefighters, police officers and military members run in full gear to emulate Siller’s determination. It is an emotional event for all who attend.
Proceeds from the run benefit several charities, one being the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund which provides scholarships to the children of members of the U.S. military who have been killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty.
Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund recipient Cheyenne Yost and her mother Rhonda Clark attended the run this year.
Cheyenne lost her father, US Army Master Sergeant Anthony Yost in 2005 when he was killed in action in Mosul, Iraq. Master Sergeant Yost was a Team Sergeant for an Army Special Forces Operational Detachment – Alpha, a group more commonly known as an “A-Team.”
Master Sergeant Yost was killed when terrorists set off explosives inside a building he was searching.
“My father’s service means the world to me,” said Cheyenne. “I am very honored and proud that Master Sergeant Anthony Yost is my father because of the ultimate sacrifice he made for me and my country.”
Cheyenne has just started her freshman year at Michigan State University where she is studying Criminal Justice. “I am so thankful that you chose me to come to this event, but it is bittersweet because I know that without my dad’s sacrifice this wouldn’t have been possible. But because of Freedom Alliance it feels like my father is still looking out for me and taking care of me,” said Cheyenne.