Tunnel to Towers Tower Climb NYC returns after pandemic hiatus

Erika Oelkers, whose husband, FDNY FF Thomas Oelkers, lost his battle with a 9/11-related illness, will serve as the honorary starter for this year's climb


Ann Marie Barron
Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — After a two-year hiatus, the iconic Tunnel to Towers Tower Climb New York City returns to One World Observatory on June 5.

Climbers will once again get the opportunity to climb the 2,226 steps alongside members of the NYPD, FDNY, PAPD and New York state court officers, to reach the top of the building that symbolizes the resiliency of the American spirit.

Climbers will once again get the opportunity to climb the 2,226 steps alongside members of the NYPD, FDNY, PAPD and New York state court officers.
Climbers will once again get the opportunity to climb the 2,226 steps alongside members of the NYPD, FDNY, PAPD and New York state court officers. (Photo/Tunnel to Towers Foundation)

This year's tower climb will honor the sacrifice of all 9/11 heroes and those first responders who lost their lives in the years that followed due to 9/11-related illnesses.

The Tunnel to Towers Foundation is dedicated to honoring the sacrifice of FDNY Firefighter Stephen Siller, who lost his life on Sept. 11, 2001.

For more than 20 years it has supported the nation's first responders, veterans and their families by providing these heroes and those they leave behind with mortgage-free homes.

Honorary starter

Erika Oelkers, whose husband, FDNY Firefighter Thomas Oelkers, lost his battle with a 9/11-related illness last May, will serve as the honorary starter for this year's climb. Firefighter Oelkers served in the NYPD before joining the FDNY, protecting New York City's citizens for more than two decades.

Last June, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation announced it had paid off the mortgage on Erika Oelkers' home and would pay off the mortgages for first responders who lose their lives to 9/11-related illnesses and leave behind young children.

The Tunnel to Towers Tower Climb New York City supports the Tunnel to Towers Foundation and the Captain Billy Burke Jr. Foundation, which provides tuition assistance at Burke's alma mater, SUNY Potsdam, for children of NYC firefighters.

Registration is open and is limited to 1,000 climbers. Go to T2T.org to secure a spot, or for more information.


Read next

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The ‘Never Forget Walk’: Honoring my brother’s final journey – and all our fallen heroes

Along the 500-mile trek from the Pentagon to Shanksville to New York City, I share Stephen’s story and the Tunnel to Towers message

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(c)2022 Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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