FLUSHING, N.Y. (Oct. 4, 2018) - The Queens College Softball team participated in the Tunnel to Towers 5K this past Sunday (Sept. 30) in Lower Manhattan. The Tunnel to Towers 5K Run was created to retrace the final steps of Stephen Siller, a New York City firefighter (FDNY) who lost his life on September 11, 2001.
Members of the QC Softball Team along with their coaches joined with over 30,000 participants ran the 3.5 mile journey in honor of Siller and all those who lost their life on Sept. 11, 2001. The Run & Walk Series pays homage to all first responders and service members who made, and continue to make, extraordinary sacrifices in the line of duty.
"When you exit the tunnel and are greeted with hundreds of American Flags, firefighters who hold portraits of those who died on 9/11 and hear the chants and cheers of thousands of participant's and service members—it makes you proud to be an American," Head Softball Coach Amy Delmore noted.
"Every moment leading up to the tunnel itself, and going into the tunnel, is adrenaline," stated QC softball player and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee President Gabriella Russo. "It's building up the anticipation...you're learning the story of Stephen Siller and the pure adrenaline is what kept me going. I didn't stop once and that was the first time I was able to run and I just felt adrenaline. Not winded, not out of breath. It was touching to see all the banners and all the pictures coming out of the tunnel."
On September 11, 2001, Stephen, who was assigned to Brooklyn's Squad 1, had just finished his shift and was on his way to play golf with his brothers when he got word over his scanner of a plane hitting the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Upon hearing the news, he returned to Squad 1 to get his gear.
Stephen drove his truck to the entrance of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, but it had already been closed for security purposes. Determined to carry out his duty, he strapped 60 lbs. of gear to his back, and raced on foot through the tunnel to the Twin Towers, where he gave up his life while saving others.
"What was crazy was seeing this one picture of this one firefighter posted on someone's uniform or a hat that they were wearing," Russo continued. "That image stuck with me and as soon as I came out of the tunnel, the first banner I saw was that firefighter's. I got chills and that was what I needed to push me. It was inspiring. Everything I ran, he ran PLUS sixty pounds on his back. It was touching. The ceremony afterwards was touching as well, a lot of great people speaking about these heroes and civilians. They made it feel like a celebration. We were celebrating what Stephen did and his life of serving for others. It was beautiful."