3rd Annual Stair Climb in Honor of 9/11 and the Fallen Heroes

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Monday September 11th, 2023, Lacy Martin and the Hammock Beach Golf Resort and Spa hosted the 3rd annual Stair Climb event in honor of 9/11 and the fallen heroes. The event started off with an opening ceremony with speakers who included Flagler County Fire Chief Mike Tucker and Palm Coast Fire Chaplain Chris Cottle.

Amy Ferrer, a Teaching and Learning Specialist with Flagler Schools and wife of Daytona Beach Firefighter, stood up to say a few words on 9/11 and the significance to her as well as Flagler Schools. Following Ferrer’s words, Lincoln Cottle, a 7th grade Flagler County student and son of Palm Coast Fire Chaplain Chris Cottle, stood up to read to the crowd what 9/11 meant to him.

Lincoln Cottle told those in attendance that while he wasn’t born when 9/11 happened, he has watched videos of that day. He talked about his father and his career as a firefighter, and how it reminded him the sacrifices of the families of our heroes and how our nation came together regardless of differences in light of the tragic event. “To me 9/11 is about bravery, unity, sacrifice and service to others; it’s a day that reminds me of the values that makes our nation strong and the heroes that embodies those values,” said Lincoln Cottle at the conclusion of his speech.

Concluding the opening ceremony, while the climbers were getting themselves ready to climb 11 flights of stairs 11 times, we had the chance to talk to Lacy Martin, who created this event and has continued to host this event yearly since 2020. “This year I just kind of did it on my own, I had 130 signups this morning when I checked and I still had people signing up. It looks like we have over 100 spectators, with kids, parents, grandparents, which is so special. It warms my heart, bringing everyone together and you know, that was one of the most patriotic days of our lives, was the day after 9/11. I am very, very proud of this event and what it has turned into,” Lacy told us. When asked if there would be a 4th annual event next year she told us, “Absolutely!”

We also had the opportunity to speak with Kerry Mitruska, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Hammock Beach Golf Resort. “I think when you look around and see what’s happening, you realize the cause that this is supporting and it’s just phenomenal. We are so happy to be the host of it and attached to it. Adam Denison, the Director of Security and Lacy Martin are really the people who that put everything together behind this event and it’s gotten bigger and better every year. We had the first responders out playing golf yesterday, they are their families will be at the pool today, so we are thrilled to be associated with it. It is very emotional day not only for Americans, but for the world. Life changed that day. If you were around then you remember what life was before. We are just really proud to be associated with everything that is going on and glad we could be a part of it.”

There were many spectators in attendance including members of the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office Motorcycle Unit, Commissioner Andy Dance from the Board of County Commissioners, Flagler Schools Staff, Palm Coast Fire Chaplain Cottle, Flagler County Fire Rescue staff and therapy dog, and many others.

Among those who climbed the stairs were Mike Tucker, the Flagler County Fire Rescue chief, Dale Tucker representing Cora Physical Therapy, Deland Fire Department Palm Coast Fire Department, Flagler County Fire Rescue Academy students, Daytona Beach Fire, Apopka Fire, Bunnell Police, FCSO Staff, Daytona Beach Shores Fire, and many others.

During the Climb we had the chance to talk with climbers both civilians and first responders. To some 9/11 it was a memory of what happened on the tv and recognizing how hard it was for them. “9/11 means that everyone stops and comes together and remembers the tragedy, lives, the time that was lost 22 years ago. Every year we come together and honor that time as a nation, and it is just so powerful,” said Kaitlyn Hunter as she climbed another flight of stairs.

We also had the chance to talk with Lt. Clay Merritt as he climbed yet another flight of stairs in his gear. “Doing this for a great cause, I was working the day 9/11 in the city of Palatka. We all said we would do the same thing, when everyone is running out we will be running in to do what we can.”

The event was a very difficult and emotional event where many took the time to remember the fallen heroes from that day. Spectators cheered climbers as they continued on offering support as they could. From the youngest to the oldest, and everyone in between, who completed 11 flights of stairs 11 times, our hats off to you!

By Krys DeWind

Krys DeWind has been a Flagler County resident since 2016. She is active in her community and is always looking for ways to better it. She has a community first attitude which is one of the central founding ideals of the Flagler County Buzz.

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