Two local law enforcement officers will be among more than 1,000 first responders and civilians who ascend to the top of the Tower of the Americas Wednesday in the San Antonio 110 9/11 Memorial Climb.
Kris Salazar, a Brownwood police detective, and Greg Parrott, a mental health crisis deputy with the Brown County Sheriff’s Office, will be among those who climb the stairs to the top of the 750-foot, 68-story tower, honoring first responders who lost their lives in the World Trade Center terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
Participants will climb the stairs twice, equaling 136 stories and exceeding the 110-story height of the Twin Towers.
It will be Salazar’s fourth climb, and Parrott’s first. Both men are members of the SWAT team operated jointly by the police department and sheriff’s office, and both will wear their full SWAT gear.
The climb pays tribute to the 343 firefighters, 70 law enforcement officers and nine EMS personnel who were killed at the Twin Towers site. First responders will be given tags to carry in honor of each first responder who died.
“We climb to remember, honor, tribute and complete the climbs of our fallen brothers who perished that day,” the climb’s mission statement states.
Salazar said he was in the fifth grade when the highjacked airlines flew into the Twin Towers.
“It was something that just shook me and made me realize it could happen anywhere,” Salazar said, noting that the first responders who died “made the ultimate sacrifice.
“Ultimately it’s a bonding experience with first responders,” Salazar said of the climb.
Parrott said when he learned Salazar and another Brownwood officer, Noe Acosta, made the climb last year, he was impressed.
“We all remember where we were. I was a detective in the sheriff’s office in Lubbock,” Parrott said.
The deputy said making the climb is an opportunity to “do something in honor of first responders who lost their lives. So many lost their lives that day.”
The first climb will begin at the exact time the first tower was hit, and firefighters will go in first, followed by law enforcement, paramedics and civilians, Parrot said.
He said the only aspect of the climb he’s concerned about is knowing the stairs to the top are wrapped around an open center space.
“I’m just going to focus straight ahead and not look to my right,” Parrott said.