NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - Kerri Kiefer-Viverito lost her brother Michael, a New York City firefighter in the terror attacks on 9/11. With a heavy heart on the eve of the 15th anniversary of 9/11, Kerri was ready to do what she had been training for, for the past two months: the 32 annual Town of Hempstead Triathlon. But it wasn't just any triathlon. This one was the same one her brother did two days before he lost his life in the attacks.
Kerri wasn't competing alone, even though Michael wasn't physically there she says she felt his presence every step of the way. She says she got strength from him.
The 25-year-old firefighter was a member of Ladder 132 in Brooklyn. If you are part of the FDNY family, the fire station you belong to means a lot. His family says 132 was Michael's number, one he was proud of and the one he was given at the town triathlon 15 years ago.
On Saturday morning, Kerri couldn't fight back the tears as she was given that same number. She competed wearing an FDNY suit, carrying her brother's picture, and riding the same bike Michael rode in his last triathlon.
The swim was rough, the biking not so much, but the 5-mile run was very challenging, she says. There were moments where she broke down.
Kerri was never doing this race to break a record, but rather to honor her brother. With tears and her family cheering her on holding photos of their hero, she crossed the finish line.
Not only did Kerri finish the race, but she came in strong finishing second in her age group. Michael also came in second in his age group 15 years ago.