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Du Quoin firefighters: 'We wanted to pay respects to 9/11'

  • From left, Firefighter Matt Kremer, Capt. Will Riggio, Firefighter Jared Kremer and Firefighter Heath Melton, walk through Du Quoin on Saturday.

    From left, Firefighter Matt Kremer, Capt. Will Riggio, Firefighter Jared Kremer and Firefighter Heath Melton, walk through Du Quoin on Saturday.
    Devan Vaughn photo

 
Du Quoin Call staff report
updated: 9/15/2021 2:26 PM

A team of four off-duty Du Quoin firefighters took the Rucksack Challenge on Saturday to honor the firefighters who responded to the twin towers in Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2001, including those who lost their lives.

The event was sponsored by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, who offered a 10K challenge and a noncompetitive 5K version. The firefighters -- Capt. Will Riggio and firefighters Heath Melton, Jared Kremer and Matt Kremer -- donned full gear and walked the 5K route -- roughly three miles.

"It's something we wanted to do," Melton said Monday. Someone from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes dropped a flyer off at the station a few months ago, and the four decided that since they were all off that day, they could do the challenge.

"We wanted to pay respects to 9/11," Melton said. He said the four are glad they did it, and found it "eye-opening."

"We were walking on flat ground," Melton said. "Some of those firefighters (at the twin towers) that day made it to the 78th floor."

The 5K route took them first to the Oddfellows Cemetery, then to a home on Ballantine Avenue, the Trogolo Company on Jackson Street, the American Legion and the Du Quoin Fire Department, before ending at Keyes Park, where they started.