Tunnel to Towers - Your Chance to Climb to the Top of the Duke Energy Center

By: Jacob Robinson
IG: @elcapitanjake
Skyline Photo: @unclejut

Make a Difference in the Lives of Service Members and First Responders

Alan Jackson famously sung – “Where were you when the world stopped turning that September Day?” He was talking about 9/11. I was in 6th grade band class.

Looking back on that time in my life, I never fully comprehended the severity of the event I was watching unfold on the television they rolled into my classroom. The number of beautiful lives we lost that day is heartbreaking.

Now, you and I have the opportunity to honor the first responders who lost their lives during 9/11.

Enter, the Stephen Stiller Tunnels to Tower Climb – Charlotte. This is your chance to not only climb the Duke Energy Center, but to also raise money for military and first responders who risk life and limb for our country.

The Ultimate Sacrifice

Wait. You’re wondering - Who’s Stephen Stiller? Stephen Stiller was a firefighter in Brooklyn’s 1st Squad, who after hearing about the first plane crashing into the World Trade Centers, hiked through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the World Trade Centers to save lives. He eventually lost his. Read more about Stephen’s life here.

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The Inaugural Tunnel to Towers Climb Charlotte

I met the organizer of Charlotte’s Tunnels to Tower climb, Suzanne Bergen, at OMB Yoga on Tap a few weeks ago. Her burning passion for stair climbing, this organization, and its mission sparked my interest.

Suzanne, an instructor at Charlotte Yoga is also a professional stair climber. This makes her the perfect person to host this event in Charlotte. She is passionate about stair climbing because it’s a great way to keep her cardio fitness levels high and enjoy the spirit of competing. She travels locally and out of state to compete in stair climbs. She and her husband have done many climbs for the American Lung Association and each of them have lost a parent to lung cancer.

I asked Suzanne why she chose to direct this event in Charlotte, she responded:

“This event is special to my husband and I for many reasons. We all remember where we were on 9/11 and it's the soul of America. We feel it's our calling to spread the word about Stephen Siller and the foundation. We are honored they have chosen to have this event in Charlotte.”

Where Does the Money Raised Go?

All of the fundraising monies go to build smart homes for our nation's most catastrophically injured service members. Anyone missing three limbs or more can apply for the homes. The goal is to build 200 homes. Two of the homes are in North Carolina and 43 have been built so far. This is a way for us to pay it forward to our firefighters, first responders, and military heroes.

How Can You Participate?

The climb registration fee is $40.00. Minimum fundraising is $100.00 per climber. You are able to have your friends and family donate on the registration website and you will get a t-shirt. Climbers also get a name and photo of a firefighter that died in 9/11.

You can walk in memorandum of them and can register with a team or as an individual at T2TCLIMB.ORG. If you don’t have it in you to climb the 54 floors, donate here.

Date/Time: April 30th at 8 am
Where: Duke Energy Center

- Jacob Robinson