The Commerce Journal

Local News

September 11, 2013

Commerce Fire Department honors fallen comrades

COMMERCE — Climbing up 110 flights of stairs not knowing what lies ahead takes a special kind of courage, according to members of the Commerce Fire Department.

Six members of the Commerce Fire Department participated in the 9/11 Stair Climb at the Renaissance Tower in Dallas to honor the 343 first responders who lost their lives 12 years ago on Sept. 11, 2001.

Commerce Firefighter Cade White said he climbed so he would never forget the lives lost on that day.

“It’s all about remembrance and helping those charities out with donations,” he said.

Each firefighter was given an accountability tag of a firefighter who lost their life on Sept. 11.

White said it was knowing who he was climbing for that kept him going for the grueling two-hour climb up 110 flights while wearing 55-pounds of gear.

“It was getting that leg to the next step,” he said, adding that the climb had a very personal meaning to him because the person he climbed for, Adam Rand, was not that different from himself. “His favorite past times were hunting and fishing, and he was preparing for his wedding. The same thing I’m doing right now.”

Captain William Hall said knowing that the firefighters who climbed on 9/11 did not give up, encouraged he and the rest of the Commerce firefighters not to quit.

“It was tough,” he said. “But what kept us all going was knowing how they never gave up.”

Jason Maxwell, whose mother is a captain for the Plano Fire Department, was sitting in Algebra class in 8th grade at Greenville Middle School when one of the teachers told them what happened.

Maxwell said it was his mother’s reaction to the attacks that will be etched in his mind.

“At the time I knew it was something terrible but I didn’t realize how big that was. It wasn’t until I got home that night when my mom and I were watching the news and keeping up with everything going on,” he said. “I remember that’s what moved her the most was those 343 firefighters who were trying to do as much as they could to help knowing what was up there; just knowing that it was going to be hard.”

According to Maxwell, the firefighters who gave their lives that day are true heroes.

“They just knew it was bigger than they were,” he said. “And they continued going for 110 flights. That’s amazing.”

Firefighter Joe Martello said he made the climb because they made the climb.

“Knowing they made the climb not knowing what’s up there and going into an unknown situation,” he said. “It’s about remembering your brothers and thinking about what was going through their minds.”

According to Martello, knowing they climbed for firefighters who gave their lives on Sept. 11 was a very moving experience.

“At the top there’s the accountability board,” he said. “It was a very humbling experience putting their names on that board.”

For Commerce Firefighter Gabe Wittkopf, getting to honor those first responders with his fellow team bonds them closer together.

“I enjoyed the climb because it’s honoring and respecting those who gave their lives,” he said. “It’s what the 12 guys here and the volunteer firefighters do every day.”

This is not the first time members from the Commerce Fire Department have made the climb, and Wittkopf said it won’t be the last.

“The Commerce Fire Department is going to continue to do it,” he said. “We’re going to continue to do it and continue to grow.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Zoe Peak.JPG Zoe Peak signs with Henderson State

    Most high school athletes are passionate about the sports they play, but few demonstrate the dedication of swimmers like Commerce High School senior Zoe Peak.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Holocaust-Poster-2014-180x180.jpg Holocaust survivors to speak at A&M-Commerce

    Texas A&M University-Commerce students and community members will have a unique opportunity to hear firsthand from three Holocaust survivors their individual experiences, an opportunity that is becoming rarer by the day.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • DavidBrown.jpg Dallas Police Chief to speak at A&M-Commerce

    Dallas Police Chief David Brown will be on the Texas A&M University-Commerce campus on April 25 to give a speech in the Traditions Room of the Rayburn Student Center.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • University to host Korean Consul-General

    Texas A&M University-Commerce will host a distinguished international politician today as former ambassador and Consul-General of the Republic of Korea Suk-Bum Park visits the campus.

    April 15, 2014

  • CR 1081 Damage 2.jpg Storm damages Hunt County

    Although Commerce was not struck by the series of tornadoes that occurred on April 3, it bore much of the impact of the severe weather caused by the storm cell. 

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Food pantry assists the ‘working poor’

    When Bread of Life Church of the Nazarene took over a monthly food pantry from Word of Life Church in Commerce, Pastor Jan Wilton told members of the Commerce Lions Club she felt a need to help the Commerce community.

    April 9, 2014

  • CR 1081 Damage 2.jpg Tornado bigger than first thought

    Additional details were released Monday about the size and intensity of last week’s tornado which struck northern Hunt County.

    April 8, 2014 2 Photos

  • Drumming up some fun

    Have you ever wondered what it takes to be part of a drum line at a university?

    April 3, 2014

  • Teachers honored at Commerce board meeting

    The Commerce ISD Board of Trustees held open session on March 20 to recognize the achievements of the Commerce ISD Campus Teachers of the Year, as well as discuss the potential offering of non-core classes to students not enrolled in the district.

    April 1, 2014

  • Environmental project to beautify park

    As the drought continues in Texas, water conservation is a hot topic.

    March 31, 2014

Featured Ads

Poll

What should be new A&M-C women's basketball coach Jason Burton's goals for the 2014-15 season?

Winning 10 games
Winning and LSC tournament game
His focus should be on recruiting/building the team, rather than immediate success
     View Results
Must Read
Facebook
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide