Today marks one of the worst events in this nation’s history. Roughly 3,000 lives were taken away from their families, including “343 firefighters and paramedics, 23 New York City police officers and 37 Port Authority police officers” according to History.com. September 11, 2001 changed the way Americans saw terrorism – it was no longer an act happening thousands of miles away, it was on America’s doorstep. No one can, and no one should forget the hundreds of first responders who made the selfless decision to answer the call that morning.

“I think anyone can be a responder, it just takes a will to step up and say “I want to help”.  One of the greatest things I have learned is that there are so many ways to serve and that it takes all kinds of people to actually come together and make difference.” Jim Corbet

About a third of Unique-ARs‘ employees are first responders (some being retired), two of them volunteer at the McCall Fire Department; Jennifer Bisom, and Jim Corbet. Jen has been volunteering at the department for about five years and she has been doing EMS for eleven years, while Jim has been volunteering at the MFD for about six years, working upwards of twenty hours a month with the department. UARs has been extremely supportive of their decision to better serve the community.

A few months ago, Jen visited Indianapolis, Indiana for a 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb, which was held at the Lucas Oil Stadium. There are a number of these climbs that take place across the country commemorating the FDNY firefighters that perished in their attempts to save lives. Participants climb 110 stories to remember the firefighters’ journey up the stairs of the World Trade Center.

“I recently had the privilege to do 110 story stair climb in honor of those who lost their life that day. I was assigned a name [of a FDNY firefighter] and encouraged to look up their background. My firefighter, Anthony Rodriguez, had only been on the job for 6 months after his 10 year service in the U.S. Navy as a radioman. He was on his way home when he heard the World Trade Center was attacked and called his family to tell them he was heading back to work. He never made it home and three days later his wife delivered their sixth child. As I climbed those flights of stairs, when I wanted to quit, I kept thinking “they did this, so I will keep climbing as long as I have breath in my lungs.” Jennifer Bisom

First responders aren’t just heroes for rescuing someone from a burning building or saving passengers from a car wreck. They are also heroes for providing comfort to people that are facing death, giving hope to strangers’ families, and lifting the spirits of those that feel abandoned in the worst moments of their life. The most courageous part of being a firefighter, a police officer, or an EMT has to be that those men and women wake up every day knowing what they might have to see and live with for the rest of their lives. So today, please take a moment to think about those that have made, and continue to make the sacrifice to protect and serve their communities.

9/11 Memorial Stair Climb in Indianapolis, Indiana Photography Credit: Jennifer Bisom