Stair Climb Challenge At YMCA Raises Money For Burn Camp

Linda Hernandez (C), of Warsaw, takes the stair climb challenge Saturday at Parkview Warsaw YMCA as Paul Edwards (L), YMCA facilities director, and Tracy Frick (R), YMCA director of healthy living, look on. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.

TIMES UNION REPORTS – One of the ways Parkview Warsaw YMCA commemorated the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America Saturday was with a stair climb challenge that raised funds for the Indiana Burn Center.

Paul Edwards, YMCA facilities director, said, “We’re doing 110 flights, which is representative of the Twin Towers – that’s how tall they were – and it gives people an idea of what the FDNY guys went through climbing those towers when they were thinking they could go up and put the fire out, basically.”

The YMCA sent out emails and flyers to local fire departments, police and other first responders to participate. The event was from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Edwards said they also opened it up to Y members as a challenge to let members know what it might have been like a little bit.

All money raised goes to the Indiana Burn Center. “It’s actually a burn camp for children who have been burnt and it gives them a chance to go to camp and feel normal. They’re not judged because of the injuries or scars that they may have. They’re there with other children in the same predicament and it’s just a nurturing environment for them,” Edwards said.

As of about 11:30 a.m. Saturday, 15 people had participated in the first-year event. The fastest time at that time was 15 minutes, 28 seconds by Lauren Frederick.

Frederick said she is a runner and used to be a physical trainer at the YMCA. After taking part in the challenge as a “nice warm-up,” she then ran 6 miles.

She said she took part in the challenge partly because “of the competition, but part of me just wanted to know and understand how much effort that requires.” She acknowledged she did the stair climb challenge without all the equipment and gear the New York firefighters had on when they entered the Twin Towers on 9/11.

“I probably would have passed out from heat exhaustion, if I’m honest. I would have probably been 10 minutes slower. To have to do that and then have to do whatever else is required of me – for the actual job, that’s not even the job per se. That’s like walking into the door, basically,” she said.

The stair climb challenge is done nationwide. Edwards is a retired Kokomo firefighter.

“The guys back home do this and they have done it for several years, and they’re very successful with it,” he said. “Unfortunately, this year, we – being the Kokomo Fire Department – had a guy die in the line of duty. So down there the proceeds are going to his memorial foundation.”

Tracy Frick, Kosciusko YMCA director of healthy living, said the Kokomo Fire Department partners with the Kokomo YMCA on its stair climb challenge. “When Paul came on board (to the Warsaw YMCA), we decided that we would do it this year, so this is the first year that the Kosciusko Community YMCA has participated in an event like this,” she said, noting that the Y is “all about community. So when we had the chance to commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11, we were all in.”