A member of the Oneida County Sheriff's Office took first place in the inaugural 9/11 'Never Forget' Run/Walk. Proceeds from the event went to benefit a truly amazing cause.

If you've ever listened to the Rush Limbaugh Show, you're likely familiar with the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. Most recently, Rush sold "Stand Up For Betsy Ross" T-Shirts with proceeds going to the foundation. That same charity was the beneficiary of the Utica Roadrunner's Club event.

The Tunnel to Towers Foundation was established in memory of Stephen Siller. Siller was a New York City Firefighter assigned to Squad 1 in Brooklyn on September 11th, 2001. Stephen had just finished his shift when he heard of the horrific attacks on the World Trade Center. Sills immediately returned to work, never to return home again. At the inception of the foundation, a 5k was established to mimic the route Sills ran with all his protective gear through Brooklyn Battery Tunnel due to the fact it was closed. Sills arrived at the World Trade Center only to be buried beneath the South Tower when it collapsed.

The foundation raises money and it goes directly to the families of firefighters & police officers killed in the line of duty, families of soldiers killed in action and they also build “smart”, accessible homes for disabled veterans.

The Utica Roadrunners event that took place on November 8th, 2020 was a partnership with Utica Professional Firefighters Local 32 and the Sneaker Store. The event was a combination of live and virtual with the live portion capped at 50 participants. The race started at Proctor Park, went out to the 9/11 Memorial at Tilden Ave and then back to Proctor Park. The virtual portion of the run was completed the week leading up to the live event.

When it was all said and done the winner of the live event was Oneida County Sheriff's Office Court Attendant Gary Burak, who ran the race with his wife Felicia. She is also a long distance runner and court attendant. The event was planned and held to help offset, even a little, the tremendous loss in funds the charity has seen due to COVID-19 restrictions. This is just another example of CNY stepping up big to help those in need. Congrats to all participants, especially Gary Burak.

NEVER FORGET: Images from 9/11 and the days after