HARRISONBURG — For the past three years on Sept. 11, Sgt. Charles Grubbs with the Harrisonburg Police Department has walked up 110 floors in honor of the first responders who climbed that many steps in the World Trade Center 18 years ago to rescue civilians trapped as a result of the terrorist attack.

While he does this via the stair climber at Sentara RMH Wellness Center, the message is clear, to remember the individuals who died trying to save lives.

“I do it every year because it’s important to never forget,” the 16-year HPD officer said.

Knowing that it’s not only important to remember those who have died in the line of duty in the past, a group of Harrisonburg High School students wanted to recognize the first responders who are doing it every day still.

The students of the Future Health Professionals organization, also known as HOSA, were tasked with coming up with an activity in remembrance of 9/11 that honored either veterans, active members of the military or first responders, said Jen Glazer, a career and technical education teacher at HHS.

The students settled on care packages for first responders such as firefighters and police officers, as well as the administrative staff who backs them up.

“We met last Friday and they put it together,” Glazer said of the students. “I bought the stuff but the rest was all them.”

Knowing that one of the best ways to care for someone is to give them goodies they can eat while at work, the care packages were filled with cupcakes, chips, peanuts, bags of candy and lemonade packets.

“It’s important to thank the people who go out and save lives every day,” said senior Sheila Escalante-Lopez, adding that includes not just those risking their lives, but their support system staff as well. “It’s not an easy job and they put a lot of work into it.”

Contact Megan Williams at 574-6272 or mwilliams@dnronline.com. Follow Megan on Twitter @DNR_Learn

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