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Remembering fallen heroes: Snap Fitness hosts memorial stair climb

  • Colwell fire chief Lon Isakson makes his climb in full gear at the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb at Snap Fitness in Charles City. (Press photo James Grob.)

  • Colwell fire chief Lon Isakson makes his climb in full gear at the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb at Snap Fitness in Charles City. (Press photo James Grob.)

  • Colwell fire chief Lon Isakson makes his climb in full gear at the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb at Snap Fitness in Charles City. (Press photo James Grob.)

By James Grob, jgrob@charlescitypress.com

Charles City, Iowa, doesn’t have any buildings that are 110 stories high.

Snap Fitness in Charles City has stair-stepper machines, however, and that was good enough on Wednesday.

The business, located at 220 N. Main St., hosted a 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb on Wednesday to commemorate the 343 firefighters (including a chaplain and two paramedics) who died at the World Trade Center during the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001.

The public was invited to climb 1,980 steps to equal a total of 110 stories, meant to simulate the distance the fallen men and women had to travel inside the World Trade Center that day after American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower. Climbers registered for their time Wednesday, and each donated $15 for the cause.

Snap Fitness employee Janae Ferch said the entire community was invited to give the climb a try.

“Whether you do 110 floors or just 10 floors, we wanted to challenge everybody,” she said.

Ferch, who first suggested the idea locally, said that those who participated received a T-shirt, and that donations are going to benefit Floyd County Veterans Affairs office in Charles City.

“This is to help with gas, medical expenses or anything they may be missing,” Ferch said. “The 9/11 attacks were not an event we ever forget, but this puts a little challenge and a little heart into it.”

At 9 a.m. Wednesday — about the time the attacks were taking place 18 years ago — Colwell Fire Chief Lon Isakson was making his climb in full firefighting gear, while Snap Fitness members were getting into gear to do the same thing.

Earlier Wednesday morning, Charles City Police Officer Dario Gamino, Floyd County Sheriff’s Deputy Cody VanHorn and Snap Fitness owner Jay Jung took the challenge and made the climb together.

“They did it in their own uniforms,” said Ferch, who also works with emergency medical services, and has worked with Isakson and local ambulance and fire departments.

“That’s kind of where I strummed it up a little bit, with my EMS background. I wanted to create a cause for the business I work for, and I wanted to get a little community camaraderie together to highlight the cause,” she said.

The 9/11 Memorial Stair Climbs go on throughout the nation on the 9/11 anniversary, some on real flights of stairs and others on stair-steppers and similar machines. These events are not timed races, but a way for firefighters and communities to honor and remember firefighters and other first responders.

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