“I was proud to be a part and help with the fundraising effort for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF),” said City of West Plains firefighter and Team Captain Dave Masterson. He and firefighter Donald Laughary represented West Plains at the event, held Sept. 11 at Missouri State University Plaster Stadium in Springfield. “Honoring the fallen firefighters was part of the event, and it was a solemn occasion, but one I really take pride in.” Each participant represented one of the 343 FDNY firefighters that perished in the line of duty during rescue efforts taken following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. The damage caused by the attacks led to the collapse of the two World Trade Center skyscrapers, resulting in the loss of 2,753 lives, including those firefighters that were in the process of removing survivors from the buildings. Masterson and Laughary completed the stair climb, 2,200 steps that represented the 110 stories of the World Trade Center, in full firefighting gear. It was the tenth year for the event, which is a fundraiser for the NFFF, whose mission is to provide emotional support, grief counseling guidance for surviving family members and co-workers of firefighters that died in the line of duty, education and training to prevent firefighter deaths and injuries, scholarship opportunities for surviving spouses and children, and the establishment of a national memorial park for fallen firefighters.