Tunnels to Tower 5K honors military, first responders

Published: Oct. 8, 2022 at 10:18 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - It took a little over twenty minutes for Samuel Long to cross the finish line at the Tunnels to Tower 5K Run and Walk event that honors the military and first responders.

“I really just want to tell them, thank you,” Long said.

A Senior and long-distance runner at Jackson Academy says every step was in honor of the men and women who put their lives ahead of others.

“[This was] for all the sacrifices that they made for us that we may or may not know about,” Long said.

One firefighter, in particular, is honored through this race. In 2001, New York firefighter Stephen Siller died after running three miles in full gear to help people on 9/11.

Since then, Tunnels to Tower races have started across the country.

“It’s for them. The first responders, our military, and for all those who save our lives every single day,” Rusty Burke, a participant in the race said.

Burke has been running this race for the last two years, with extra gear in tow.

“I’ll l do it every year. With all my gear on too,” Burke said. Burke runs with an added 55 pounds during the race.

The money raised during these races goes towards building mortgage-free homes for families of first responders or members of the military.

“It really honors them. It’s why we carry that. I always run with it,” Burke said.

And on the eve of his 80th birthday, a retired brigadier general says the reason behind their mission is why he’s running.

“I’ve long understood and respected first responders and I know what kind of sacrifice they make,” Hilliard Lackey said.

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