Thousands take part in Tunnel to Towers 5K to honor heroes dedicated to protecting freedom, safety

Thousands of people, including FOX Weather meteorologist Nick Kosir, descended upon New York City Sunday amid gloomy weather brought on by Post-Tropical Cyclone Ophelia to take part in the Tunnel to Towers 5K, which helps to raise support for fallen heroes and catastrophically injured veterans.

The Tunnel to Towers Foundation has been raising money in support of its mission since 9/11. They work to provide mortgage-free homes to the families of fallen first responders and military veterans and build specially adapted homes for injured veterans and first responders. They’re also committed to ending veteran homelessness.


Since its inception, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation has raised more than $500 million, with $0.95 of every dollar going toward its programs. As part of the Tunnel to Towers 5K, the foundation is accepting donations to help continue its efforts to support military veterans and first responders.

FOX Weather has committed to matching up to $250,000 of donations through the Tunnel to Towers 5K.

You can donate here and have your donation matched.

What is the Tunnel to Towers 5K?

Participants of the Tunnel to Towers 5K follow a route from the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the former site of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan. They are retracing the path taken on Sept. 11, 2001, by firefighter Stephen Siller, who carried 60 pounds of gear from the Tunnel to the Towers to help his fellow first responders. 

In doing so, Siller's bravely gave up his life.

"We’re out here today because of our heroes," Jen Brekke, a participant and member of the Tunnel to Towers board, said. "I mean, they are protecting our community, our country, and there’s nothing more that we love to do than to support them today."

But it's not only 9/11 first responders who benefit from the Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

"From that tragedy came some incredible people coming together united to do good for our American heroes," Brekke continued. "Not just to honor those we lost on 9/11, but also to make sure we take care of the heroes today that are continuing to protect our freedom and our safety."

This is also the first time in 22 years that it has rained on race day.

"It’s the first time me that it has rained, but it hasn’t dampened the spirit at all. I can tell you that," Brekke said.

Tunnel to Towers 5K something ‘everybody should be doing’

Tunnel to Towers 5K participant Karen stopped to speak with FOX Weather meteorologist Nick Kosir about what taking part in the event means for her family and how she hopes it will keep the memory of those who were lost on 9/11 alive.

"It’s an awesome event to bring your family together," Karen said. "It’s something everybody should be doing."

It’s been well over 20 years since the attacks, and the hope is that participating in the Tunnel to Towers 5K will help those too young to remember, or who weren’t born yet, understand the gravity of what took place that day.

"I have eight nieces and nephews, and most of them were born after 9/11," Karen said. "So, they’re growing up without knowing what our freedoms were, what we used to be doing. And it’s been tense. But I want them to know that there were good people who fought to make sure that we were all kept safe. And they ran into that building to save everyone. And that’s part of the whole race, is so that they are aware and they get to see what was left."