SHAMOKIN DAM — In full firefighting gear, a Shamokin Dam firefighter climbed 1,141 steps on a step machine this morning in memory of first responders who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Ben Metzger, 31, of Selinsgrove, decided he was going to wear the turnout gear, which weighs near a 100 pounds, in honor of first responders who entered the Twin Towers in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001.

On Wednesday morning, the 18th anniversary of the attacks, Metzger hit the step machine at Planet Fitness in Shamokin and started climbing. He climbed 1,141 steps in more than an hour to recognize how far firefighters' climbed into the World Trade Center before they collapsed.

"I am honored to do this for my fellow brothers and sisters," Metzger said. "This is something I had planned to do and was excited to get to the gym and get started."

Planet Fitness, located in Shamokin Dam, gave Metzger his space and he set up a memorial right next to the step machine. An American Flag along with firefighter gear was displayed next to the machine.

"This is just so heartwarming," Planet Fitness general manage Chase Vayda said. "I have seen these types of memorial things take place at other gyms but this is a first for us here and It's amazing to watch."

Metzger said he will continue the tradition every year and will always remember his fellow first responders.

"I am here today for them," he said. "I just want to do my part and I wanted to show that these people will always live on and be with us forever."

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