NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - Michael Kiefer was an athlete, a Long Beach lifeguard, a volunteer firefighter and eventually accomplished his lifelong dream of becoming a member of the FDNY.
"My brother Michael Kiefer was an amazing person. Full of life. Just a picture of health," Kerri Kiefer-Viverito said. "Every job he had involves saving other people."
"He worked his whole life for the FDNY It was short-changed in just nine months," Kerri said.
The 25-year-old was a member of Ladder 132 in Brooklyn. He and his fellow colleagues rushed to the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, where he died.
"It's like your life just changes, that quickly," Kerri said. "You don't realize it can happen and it does."
As we approach 15 years since the 9/11 attacks, Kerri has decided to honor her brother in a very special way. Two days before Michael lost his life he did the Town of Hempstead Triathlon. That was the last time his family saw him.
"That was one of the last things he was able to do that he loved," Kerri said.
Kerri has been training for months to do this year's 32nd annual Town of Hempstead Triathlon, which takes place on September 10. It hasn't been easy for her. The most she has ever done was run a 5K.
"It means so much that I can complete the same race and really just follow his footsteps," Kerri said.
She spends two hours each day swimming, biking, and ruining.
"I know he is proud and I feel him with me every time I train, every time I'm out in the water I feel him with me," Kerri said.
Kerri knows her brother will be with her every step of the way. She is even using something of Michael's: the bike he rode during his last triathlon.
"I'm not doing this for time. I'm not doing this for a medal," Kerri said. "I'm doing it just to make him proud and honor him. When I cross that finish line -- that's my medal, to just know that he was with me and that he's proud that I did it."