Gov. Eric Greitens, dressed in a firefighter outfit Sunday with the word "governor' on his back, carried an ax in one hand and a helmet in the other as he finished climbing 110 stories — equivalent to the World Trade Center.
Greitens was one of more than 140 people who made the climb in the Jefferson State Office Building as part of the inaugural Missouri State Fire Marshal 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb. It was one of about 50 such events around the nation and world to remember the 343 firefighters who died while trying to save others during the terrorists attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
After Greitens rang a bell to mark the end of his climb, he congratulated other firefighters behind him who also rang the bell after finishing.
Mayor Carrie Tergin came to speak at the event and ended up making the climb.
The mayor and governor, along with the other participants, raised a total of around $12,000, event coordinator Kim Fitzsimmons said, adding each participant paid $35 to be a part of the event, and many individuals raised hundreds more.
The money will go to the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation. Congress created NFFF to lead a nationwide effort to remember America's fallen firefighters. Since 1992, the tax-exempt, nonprofit foundation has developed and expanded programs to honor fallen firefighters and assist their families and coworkers.
"It was a good inaugural event," Fitzsimmons said. "We plan to make it an annual event, preferably around the fall to keep it around 9/11."
Each climber wore or carried a lanyard with a photo of one of the 343 firefighters who died on 9/11. Many participants carried more than one lanyard, but the goal is to have at least 343 people participate in the future so everyone can carry no more than one.
Fire Marshal Tim Bean completed the climb and raised several hundred dollars for the cause. He said three firefighters have died on duty in Missouri this year, and the NFFF has "been active in supporting the families financially through those times."
A retired member of the New York City Fire Department — who was off duty during 9/11 but ended up responding — was at the event representing NFFF.
"I thought it was a tremendous event. It was just a great combination of teamwork and labor of love from everybody in our Division of Fire Safety," Bean said.