By Shawn Morris
Staff Reporter

This past Wednesday, the Winfield Fire and EMS Department held a 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb here at the 77. Members of the Winfield Police Department, as well as the Arkansas City Fire Department, were also present. First responders arrived as early as 5:30 a.m. and walked for several hours.

One of the police officers present was Robert Delong. Born in Wyoming and raised in Winfield, Delong became a police officer immediately after receiving a degree in Criminal Justice. He has been a member of the police department for 15 years. According to Delong, he has always wanted to become a police officer and it is what he went to school for.

Also present at the Memorial Stair Climb was Alleigh Allen, who works in the Student Success office. When asked why she participated in the Memorial Stair Climb, Allen articulated that her husband was a member of the Winfield Fire Department, and according to Allen, “the fire department and Southwestern, two things I’m strongly a part of, so I wanted to make sure to support that.” 

The general disposition of the Memorial Stair Climb was somber, but with a strong sense of community. Members of the cheer team provided water and took pictures with the firefighters present. There were around 70 first responders present over the course of the Memorial, with individuals leaving and arriving. This ceremony paid homage to the first responders lost in the tragic event 18 years ago and served as a reminder the daily sacrifice that the men and women who work as first responders must endure.

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