Langley City firefighter Colby Dodd will soon undertake a gruelling physical task in memory of the emergency responders who died on Sept. 11.
Dodd will represent his department and Langley when he takes part in the fifth annual New York City Memorial Stair Climb, a fundraising event and memorial, on Saturday, May 4.
Dodd will head to New York, where he will climb 80 floors of the new World Trade Centre 3 in full firefighter turnout gear, including oxygen tanks.
Dodd said only 343 firefighters take part in the event every year, and it’s a big honour to be selected as one of this year’s participants.
“To be honest, it was just a flow of emotions,” he said of hearing he’d been accepted after he applied back in January.
It will be “surreal” to be able to go and take part, Dodd said.
A second-generation firefighter, Dodd’s own father Terry was a firefighter on 9/11, working in Richmond.
Each firefighter climbs for an individual firefighter who lost their life after the terrorist attack that led to the collapse of the Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001.
Dodd will be climbing in honour of Alan D. Feinberg, a member of FDNY Battalion 9, and Dodd will be wearing Feinberg’s picture during the event.
The climb will be tough, not just because of the number of flights of stairs, but because of the gear the firefighters will be wearing.
Full turnout gear – the heavy coat, boots, helmet, mask, and air supply – weights 75 to 80 pounds, Dodd said.
He’s been training as much as possible to get ready for the event.
“I’ve been doing the stairmaster,” he said.
Dodd has also been using the training tower at the Langley City Firehall. Running that tower 20 times in full gear is the equivalent of going up 80 floors, he said.
His goal is to complete the climb in under 20 minutes, Dodd said.
Money raised from this year’s climb will be given to A Soldier’s Journey Home, a non-profit group of firefighters and veterans that works to build homes for severely injured soldiers.
This year’s ASJH project is to build a home for a wounded U.S. Marine named Alex Edwards, who was injured by an IED in Afghanistan in 2013.
Dodd’s goal is to raise $2,000, with the event aiming to collect $100,000 to help Edwards, who suffered hearing loss, severe nerve damage, and a spinal injury in the blast.
Donations can be made online at memorialstairclimb.com.