“It’s definitely an honor to do this for firefighters that came before us,” said Matthew Dion, a former Hernando Y employee.
Matthew dressed in full firefighting gear after completing a 24-shift as a firefighter with the Hernando County Fire Department to climb 110 ‘flights of stairs’ on the stair stepper at the Hernando County YMCA to honor emergency responders killed on Sept. 11, 2001.
The Hernando County YMCA usually remembers the day by holding a Run to Remember 5k Run/1 Mile Walk.
“It saddens us that we are unable to do that this year (due to COVID-19) but this is a great way to still highlight the importance of the day,” says Amber Slusser, Executive Director- Hernando County YMCA branch. “Having Matt here doing what he is doing, allows us to continue to hold this day in the light of remembrance that it needs to be held in. We hope that everyone at least takes a moment of silence today for the lives lost and provides a little bit of praise and encouragement to the community heroes that we have working to protect us each day."
Matthew says now that he is an actual firefighter he sees the true meaning of what it means to be a firefighter and the brotherhood that goes along with it. He says he chose to remember the day at the Hernando County YMCA after working there six years as a lifeguard.
“It made sense to do it there,” he said. ”They are always my Y family.”