Charlotte Firefighters Take On Duke Energy Tower -

Charlotte Firefighters Take On Duke Energy Tower

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Charlotte, N.C. (WJZY) -- Ready, set, go!

It's a race. Who can get to the top of the Duke Energy Tower the fastest?

After hanging out with a group of firefighters for several flights of stairs, you can tell, this isn't just a race.

"Everything you do in the Fire Department, you don't do it by yourself. If you pull a line, you pull it together. If you do a medical call, you to it together. If you go through recruit school, you do it together" said Andy Starnes, a Charlotte Firefighter.

He's walking 1,194 steps - that's 50 flights of stairs - for his firefighter family, especially those who can no longer do it themselves.

"I've had the misfortune of going to several firefighter funerals. It's not something you want to go to. But, knowing this family, your firefighter family, your second family will step up and take care of your family at home is a comfort," said Andy.

For Benjie Eargle, a brother firefighter, this is just one of five stair climbs he'll do this year.

"For me personally, it's about being physically fit for this job. The gear by itself weighs about 60 pounds. I believe I was the oldest today, turning 53 in a month," Benjie Eargle.

Benjie's gear is a different color. There's a good reason for that.

"I am from Smyrna Fire Department, Smyrna Georgia, just north of Atlanta. My wife and I have family here so we like visiting Charlotte. I come here every year to do the stair climbs," said Benjie.

No matter where these guys came from, they are one team, and there is no way they are leaving anyone behind.

The group went down a few flights of stairs to encourage the last firefighter across the finish line.

"It's not about who finished first. It's the fact we all finished. It's a team thing, a family thing," said Andy.

"If someone's falling behind, we take care of them and we get to the top together," said Benjie.

All the funds from the stair climb go the the Levine Children's Hospital.

Click here for more information about Race to the Top.

Here's a link to the Charlotte 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb.

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