With each step she takes in the clock tower stairwell at Texas Woman’s University, Denton firefighter and paramedic Sara Athey is preparing to climb for a cause.
Athey is set to take part in the first annual Tower Climb held at the World Trade Center in New York hosted by the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation this Sunday along with her friend and Coppell firefighter Jaime Taylor.
The climb, she said, was open to the first 1,000 participants and is raising money for Building for America’s Bravest, a program of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation that constructs smart homes for wounded veterans and first responders.
The program also helps the families of veterans and first responders who have been killed in the line of duty.
Athey said the organization paid off the mortgages of slain New York police officers Wenjian Liu and Luis Ramos earlier this year to help their families during a time of need.
“It’s a really great cause,” she said.
And while the climb is being held in honor of New York Fire Department Capt. Billy Burke, who was helping a quadriplegic and a friend who wouldn’t leave the quadriplegic’s side on Sept. 11, Athey will be carrying a photo of Thomas Casoria close.
Casoria was also a New York fireman who lost his life in the line of duty on Sept. 11, 2001.
“My first year, he was assigned to me at the memorial climb in Dallas and I now request him every year. I will take his photo to New York with me and climb for him,” said Athey, who is been with the Denton Fire Department for six years. “We were told to never forget. ... I can still climb and they [the fallen] can’t, so I will do it for them in their honor.”
Athey is paying all her expenses and the Denton Fire Fighters Association put up the $250 required donation, she said.
“All money I raise will go to Building for America’s Bravest,” she said.
To donate, visit http://bit.ly/1E0VAJm.
MEGAN GRAY-HATFIELD can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.