NEW YORK - A contract administrator at Defense Contract Management Agency Garden City went the extra mile recently for a good cause and to mark the anniversary of a defining event. Jose Rodriguez and other members of Team Marine and DCMA ran the annual Tunnel to Towers 5K through Manhattan, raising money for the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which supports programs for firefighters, first responders and the military.
“Being a part of the Tunnel to Towers run was an extraordinary experience,” said Rodriguez. “It allowed us to tap into the heart of New York City’s community and honor the 9/11 firefighters, police officers, first responders and military service members.”
The race follows the route of Stephen Siller, a firefighter killed as he responded to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. As that morning’s events unfolded, Siller left his firehouse in Brooklyn for the World Trade Center. Traffic at a standstill, he ran in full gear through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, joining efforts at the disaster site. The New York City Fire Department lost 343 people responding to the attacks, 11 from Siller’s Squad 1.
Team Marine and DCMA met at Ground Zero, the former site of the World Trade Center, before being shuttled to the race starting location.
“Starting the day at Ground Zero was a sobering experience,” said Rodriguez. “The struggles, sacrifices, heartache and pain that we endured as a country was being remembered by tens of thousands on this day and transformed into a story of triumph, hope and endurance.”
Rodriguez was particularly moved to be running alongside police and firefighters, many in full gear. “Running in close proximity to my fellow New Yorkers imprinted the thought that thousands of participants and spectators became one on that day to honor our fallen heroes."