Panola Firefighters Ready for 2023 Brotherhood Gear Walk – Starts Saturday at 7 a.m.

Published 8:28 pm Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Last year’s walk of First Responders Honoring 9/11 heroes

Volunteer and career firefighters will lead a contingent of first responders from all fields in the annual Panola County 911 Memorial Brotherhood Gear Walk on Saturday, Sept. 15. The event will begin with a ceremony at the new fire station on Van Voris St., at 7 a.m.

Firefighters, most dressed in full turnout gear, will begin the walk at 7:46 a.m. the precise time terrorists crashed a jet airplane into the first Twin Tower 22 years ago Monday, and when firefighters in New York City responded to the burning building.

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The route will take the walker through the Square and along College St., to Atwell St., and then to Boothe St., James St., and Tiger Drive. 

Lt. Billy Broome is one of the organizers each year, and said firefighters are always encouraged to see supports at the opening ceremony and standing along the route to cheer as they pass. Many of the local firefighters carry tags with the names of firefighters who died in the fiery tower collapses and upon the completion of the walk ring a bell in their memory.

This is the sixth year for the walk, an event that began when locals would gather for a commemorative breakfast on the anniversary of 9/11. Their connection led them to establish the approximate 4.5 mile walk.

The distance was chosen to represent the time and effort it takes firemen in full gear to walk 110 flights of stairs – the same as contained in the towers.

Broome, who used to walk in gear solo in remembrance, said he and others gladly participate in the walk to honor the lives and sacrifices made by those firefighters of New York on the fateful day.