More than 150 first responders will be honored participants in the Ford Ironman Wisconsin on Sunday, a date marking the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the U.S.
A 9-11 survivor, who fled from the World Trade Center in Manhattan, will join them and 2,500 competitors in Madison.
Steven Gatto, of Lake Forest, Ill., was attending a training session for Morgan-Stanley, in the South Tower, when the first plane crashed into the iconic buildings. He and his co-workers fled down a stairway.
The story in the Chicago Sun-Times relates that Gatto encountered firefighters moving up the stairs, around the 12th floor.
“I’m sure the firemen I passed didn’t live,” he's quoted as saying.
Being so close to individuals who put so much on the line for others has inspired Gatto to compete in this weekend’s Ironman to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. He hopes to raise $5,000 for soldiers wounded in combat in “the battle that started 10 years ago on 9/11 and is still being fought now,” he said.
Tim Wissbroecker, of Rothschild, will be another Ironman competitor with a story of survival and endurance.
The Wausau Daily Herald reports that he was left to die in a field 14 months ago, after a motorist crashed into him and fled. Wissbroecker, who had been training on his bike, suffered a broken back, shattered pelvis and broken leg.
"This was my personal challenge to push my body for something I never thought I could do," Wissbroecker said, on the verge of taking the start line for a race many thought he would never make.