Jacksonville firefighters climb stairs to honor 9/11 victims

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville firefighters honored the first responders of 9/11 by taking a walk in their shoes.

Putting one foot, in front of the other, JFRD firefighter Nick Billups spent the morning walking in the footsteps of heroes.

“We’re standing up and moving forward and challenging ourselves,” Billups said.

He and several other local first responders put on their gear and climbed more than 2,000 steps at the Williams family YMCA in Mandarin.

The 110-story trek represents the height of each World Trade Center Tower in honor of the 350 first responders who died on 9/11.

“We have our gloves and the bunker jacket and also the pants,” Billups said.

Fully outfitted, a firefighter’s gear can weigh up to 50 pounds. And that doesn’t even include the oxygen tank.

“...all of this is needed to keep me safe.”

Billups said he doesn’t take the sacrifices made on 9/11 lightly, and since becoming a firefighter, he said he better understands what was going through the minds of the New York City firefighters.

“They put their boots on the same way I put my boots on and they went to work and as soon as that happened no one was prepared for that, who could be prepared for something like that happen,” Billups said.

A mission to save lives and a lasting message to help others.

“Take this time to send positive vibes and prayers to the lives that were lost and the families affected.”

About the Author:

Amanda DeVoe joined the News4JAX team in March 2022 as a morning news and traffic anchor