Hello New York City! I felt so fortunate when I was asked to go to NYC to run a 5K with Freedom Alliance. Similar to the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, the Freedom Alliance Scholarship fund provides college scholarships to the sons and daughters of U.S. military personnel who have been killed or permanently disabled on duty. It is such a remarkable foundation with amazing people! Together with three other scholarship recipients and our team leader, we ran the Tunnels to Towers 5K as one amazing team.

Eleven years ago, firefighter Stephen Siller had just finished the late shift at Squad 1 in Park Slope, Brooklyn when he heard on the scanner that a plane crashed into the World Trade Center. The Brooklyn Battery Tunnel had been closed to traffic so Siller put on all his gear and ran to the World Trade Center. Siller lost his life that day. In order to honor the FDNY, all the 343 firefighters and all first responders who sacrificed their lives that fateful day, we retrace Siller’s footsteps from the tunnel to where the twin towers stood. Over 25,000 people participated and there were people and firefighters from all over the world!

I cannot explain how inspiring it was to run through the tunnel. I was overwhelmed with emotions as soldiers ran by chanting, firefighters jogged in full gear, and military amputees crossed the finish line. The tunnel was jammed packed with people, but I pushed myself to keep a steady pace. I couldn’t stop thinking about my dad, I know he would have loved to run it with me.

When we came out of the tunnel there were hundreds of people cheering. My adrenaline was pumping and it felt so good to cross the finish line. It was so moving to end at Ground Zero. Tunnel to Towers was truly one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had.

To make a donation that will help the sons and daughters of killed or wounded U.S. military personnel afford college, click here.

To learn more about the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Foundation, click here.