Local firefighters climb 100 floors

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Firefighters honor 343 who died on 9/11

Members of the Butterfield Fire Department and other local fire departments recently participated in a commemorative stair climb at Silver Dollar City to honor the 343 New York City firefighters who lost their lives at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

On Aug. 8, over 250 firefighters and civilians from five states, including local firefighters from Butterfield and Cassville, participated in the National Fallen Firefighters 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb. Participants climbed the stairs of Echo Hollow Amphitheater at the theme park multiple times for a total of 110 stories, representing the number of floors in the Twin Towers the fallen firefighters climbed.

Other area fire departments who participated included Monett, Bolivar, Neosho, Seneca, Joplin, Southern Stone, Western Taney County, Nixa, Lebanon and Marshfield. Attending from Butterfield were Deputy Chief Scott Brophy and his son, Firefighter Geoff Brophy. Attending from Cassville were Firefighters Derek Acheson, Mike Correia and Travis Littler; and attending from Seneca were Firefighters Johny Brophy, Engineer Ted Blackstone and Engineer Travis Clark.

Two of Brophy's three sons, who are 5th generation firefighters, also participated in the event.

According to Brophy, who has served at the Butterfield department for five years and has been a firefighter for 18, it was a challenge to duplicate what the New York heroes had climbed, and under much worse conditions.

"It was called 110 floors," Brophy said. "I'll be honest, it was hard to try to finish all that. [The fallen firefighters] sacrificed everything to get the people out. I also learned how out of shape I am, too. I've never done this before but would do it again. This time we will train for it and we are putting together a team for next year.

"The coordinator for that was Battalion Chief Adam Neff from the Nixa Fire Department. Assistant Chief Whitney Weaver was the one who worked on the website for the event. This is the third year. The past two years were held at the Springfield Cardinals baseball field."

Retired New York Fire Department Captain Michael Dugan was the commencement speaker.

"It was moving to hear him speak, also, the fact that he thanked everyone who walked as we were descending down the stairs and shook every single person's hand," Brophy said. "It was a true honor to talk to him.

"Everyone who participated in the event got the name of a firefighter who was lost in the Twin Towers. When we finished our victory walk, we were to go up and ring the bell once after speaking the name of the person. The guys from [Fire Department of New York] are some amazing people and heroes that died."

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