By Maj. Michael Ozols, 412th Contracting Support BrigadeSeptember 13, 2013
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (Sept. 13, 2013) -- Members of the 412th Contracting Support Brigade and Mission and Installation Contracting Command-Fort Sam Houston took part in the first San Antonio 110 9/11 Memorial Climb to the top of the Tower of the Americas Sept. 11 in San Antonio.
They joined firefighters, law enforcement and members of the community to honor the first responders and victims of the attacks that took place Sept. 11, 2001.
The inaugural memorial and climb to the top of the Tower of the Americas honored the 343 firefighters, more than 60 law enforcement officers and civilians who were killed that day. The climb to the top consisted of 910 stairs, and participants were asked to go to the top of the tower twice, surpassing the 110 floors and height of the World Trade Center Twin Towers. Each firefighter, law enforcement and military participant was asked to carry the name of a first responder who died in the towers. A bell was rung for them and their name was placed on a replica tower at the top of the Tower of the Americas at the end of the second climb.
The eight participants from the 412th CSB and MICC-Fort Sam Houston, and the name of the first responder who died in the towers whom they represented included Lt. Col. Sylvia Farmer (Capt. Vernon Richard, Ladder 7), Command Sgt. Maj. Jesse Hammond (James Riches, Engine 4), Maj. Manuel Prado (Lt. Michael Russo, S.O.), Maj. Michael Ozols (Joseph Rivelli Jr., Ladder 25), Capt. Francisco Cordero (Stephen Russell, Engine 55), Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Carter (Lt. Robert Regan, Ladder 118), Staff Sgt. Brian Roussel (Kevin Reilly, Engine 207), and Lysette Sanchez. Sanchez, a Department of the Amy civilian for the 412th CSB, wanted to participate after hearing about the climb through an e-mail. Sanchez had previously climbed the tower to raise money to fight Cystic Fibrosis.
The Tower of the Americas is a 750-foot observation tower and restaurant on the southeastern side of downtown San Antonio. The tower was built in 1968 and, until 1996, was the tallest observation tower in the United States. It is currently the tallest building in San Antonio and the 27th tallest building in Texas. The tower is a total of 65 flights, or 910 individual stairs.
Roussel, a member of the 607th Senior Contingency Contracting Team at MICC-Fort Sam Houston, is a native New Yorker and volunteer firefighter. He knows firsthand the sacrifices that first responders have to make during an emergency situation.
"I was honored to be able to participate in this amazing event and carry with me the name of a fallen firefighter," Roussel said. "Sept. 11, 2001, changed my life forever, and the bravery those first responders showed that day is what inspired me to enter the military. I will never forget, and I hope I honor their memories with my service."
Participants from the 412th CSB and MICC-Fort Sam Houston were accompanied by more than 600 participants at the event to honor the memory of the men and women who sacrificed their lives during the attacks 12 years ago.