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Firefighter in Full Gear Climbs Gym’s Stair Machine to Honor 9/11 First Responders

A photo of a firefighter in full gear climbing the stair machine at a Planet Fitness gym in Tennessee has gone viral on Facebook.

Planet Fitness employee Lezlie Bauler said a man walked into the gym suited up as a firefighter and asked her if he could climb 110 sets of stairs in honor of the fallen on 9/11.

“I am not one to get emotional, but a few tears were shed,” Bauler wrote on Facebook. “Thank you for your services.”

The firefighter was later identified as 33-year-old Jason Harding, a public safety officer in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Harding released this statement to WGRZ about his climb:

When I went to the gym this morning at 6am before coming onto shift I was only wanting to honor the fallen heroes and their families on this day 15 years ago. I was not and am still not looking for any self recognition. I have received so may [sic] private messages via Facebook from people expressing that support, gratitude and blessings. Many stated my act brought them to tears but little do they know, their support did the same for me. I want to thank everyone that shared and commented in response to this post. It it proof that although we seem divided as a country at times, we unite at the most crucial times. As a Public Safety Officer and McGhee Tyson airport officer, I am honored to be a Firefighter, a Police Officer and a Paramedic. I have been in emergency services for the most of my career after college and wouldn’t change that for anything. There are memorial stair climbs all across the country today honoring just as I did. I have participated in Nashville’s Memorial Stair Climb for the past 4 years. Unable to make it this year I decided to honor anyway.

The 9/11 Memorial Stair Climbs are a way for firefighters and the community to remember the firefighters who gave their lives in New York on 9/11.

Firefighters and participants climb or walk the equivalent of 110 stories, the height of the World Trade Center, in tribute to each firefighter.

Katherine Rodriguez

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