NATICK, Mass. (Sept. 12, 2016) -- More than 100 people from the Natick Soldier Systems Center workforce and local first responders participated in the first-ever stair-climb challenge Sept. 9, to symbolize the sacrifices that our first responders make on a daily basis.

Bert Scott, a supervisory recreation specialist for Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, said he thought the event was a success.

"I thought the turnout was amazing," said Scott. "A lot of people came out, not just to enjoy other people's company, but also to reflect on what happened 15 years ago."

While in the stairwells, participants also had a chance to read the names of the passengers of the flights that originated from Boston Logan International Airport on Sept. 11, which Scott said was tough.

"Putting those names up, just kind of glancing at them at, it was too many," Scott said, tearfully. "In a sense of remembering people, it's nice, but, it shouldn't be up there."

Spc. Brittani Thibodeau, a bio-scientist assistant with the United States Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, said the event was physically difficult.

"The last five rounds were the hardest rounds out of this challenge because it starts to give you perspective," said Thibodeau. "The first part of the challenge, you're like 'Let's get this done, I'm pumped,' but the last five (flights), you really start to reflect on what everybody went through."

Luis Mateo, an Auburn firefighter, said the idea of the stair-climb challenge was remarkable.

"For people to not only think about first responders but actually do a 110-floor stair climb to honor them is amazing," said Mateo. "It's nice that people can actually have the opportunity to feel and recognize the physically demanding job that first responders have."

Pete Suh, an operations specialist for United States Army Garrison Natick, said the significance of the Natick team participating in this event was very important.

"Our goal wasn't really to complete the 110 flights of stairs," said Suh. "If you could have done one or two (flights), the major significance behind it was to recognize our local first responders, and that was the essence of today's stair climb."

Suh also said planners are already looking ahead to next year's stair-climb event.

"Next year we plan on perhaps having the event off the installation," said Suh, "so we can get maximum participation from the Town of Natick."