Community comes together for Tunnel to Towers 5K, 110-story climb

Published: Sep. 12, 2021 at 7:27 AM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - With a three-helicopter flyover, it was off to the races for the 7th annual Tunnel to Towers 5K race and stair climb.

About 700 people showed up to race for the estimated 3,000 lives that were lost on the day 20 years ago.

“It’s important to me because I would like to represent those who gave their lives for us on 9/11 and to remember them,” participant Kirstie Landry said.

Racers took off from Ocean Springs, making their way about across the bridge to Margaritaville in Biloxi, then climbed 110 flights of stairs.

They all did it carrying one thing on their minds as community members and first responders from across the state came together in hopes no one forgets.

“I just hope everybody remembers what happened that day 20 years ago and that we can find some unity in this country like we did right after that,” Ocean Springs Police Sgt. Paul Regan said.

Some walked, while others ran, and several took on the challenge in uniform.

“This sounded like a great event and challenging event, and then when I heard guys come in their full gear, cops and firefighters, I was like, ‘Man, I got to do this in my full hockey gear,’” Biloxi Pro Hockey COO Joe Pace said.

Bridgett and Justin Lopez, co-directors of Tunnel to Towers Biloxi, spearhead the event every year.

“If you’re old enough to remember that day and time, you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when the attacks happened,” Bridgett said. “And we need to keep educating our youth and our young people about it to make sure that we never forget the sacrifices that people made that day.”

Justin said they raised about $25,000, and all of the proceeds will fund first responders.

“That day, 9/11, and then you think about 9/12, when the whole community, the whole world basically came together,” he said. “It didn’t matter if you was white, black, you know, what nationality, you know, just everybody was helping each other, had flags in everybody’s yards. You know I think we, especially now, we need more of that.”

They said their event keeps growing each year, but they’re working to expand it even further with the first Tunnel to Towers Golf Tournament during the first week of March.

You can find more information on their website.

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