By LINDSAY OLIVIER
NORTH KINGSTOWN – It might be hard to imagine but the 10th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks is a little over a month away.
Now, for the first time, North Kingstown will represent Rhode Island in hosting one of the nation's most well-known memorial events.
The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers 5K run/walk race, an event dedicated to the men and women who lost their lives in the attack and those serving in the armed forces, has been held in New York City every year since 2011 and, as part of the special 10th anniversary of the attack, the Siller Foundation is expanding this memorial race to every state.
The North Kingstown Fire Fighters Association (NKFFA), Local 1651, along with the Rhode Island Blue Star Moms and the North Kingstown Fire Department, will be hosting Rhode Island's official race on Sept. 17 at 660 Northrup Road, the intersection of Davisville and Bailey Roads.
“It was a strange set of circumstances how N.K. got to hold this race,” said North Kingstown Fire Fighter Association’s union president Ray Furtado. “All the pieces just fell into place.”
The cost for the race is $30 and the deadline for mail-in registration and online registration is Sept. 13 and Sept. 15, respectively.
All net proceeds of this event will benefit the R.I. Blue Star Moms, the R.I. Firefighters Widows and Orphans Fund, The Steven Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, and USA Cares.
The race itself began in memory of Stephen Siller, a New York Firefighter who was getting off the night shift and heading home to Brooklyn via the Battery Tunnel at the time of the attacks.
When Siller heard the news that a plane had hit one of the World Trade Centers, he turned his vehicle around and attempted to go back to the station but the tunnel was blocked with traffic.
Siller abandoned his vehicle, strapped all his gear on his back and began running the three and half miles towards Ground Zero.
Though it was confirmed that Siller hooked up with fellow police officers and firefighters, he was never seen again.
Race sponsorships are still available and in three denominations. Sponsors donating $5,000 with get the “presented by” title on the official t-shirt; special recognition in all TV, radio and print media; special recognition on the R.I. Blue Star Mom and NKFFA websites and 25 complimentary race t-shirts.
A $500 donation will get you a “sponsored by” title on the race t-shirt, a listing on the R.I. Blue Star Mom and NKFFA websites and 10 complimentary t-shirts. A donation of $250 will get you a “supported by” title on the t-shirt, a listing on the R.I. Blue Star Mom and NKFFA websites and five t-shirts.
Donations and sponsorships may be sent directly to: R.I. Blue Star Moms, PO Box 40938, Providence, R.I., 02940.
Registration forms and more information can be found online by visiting www.nkffa.org  and clicking on the Tunnel to Towers icon.
“Rhode Island has over one million residents and we’re hoping to have 3,000 participants. We all came together ten years ago for a common cause,” added Furtado. “We can do it again.”
The Blue Stars Mothers of America is a group that was formed during World War II specifically dedicated to supporting the troops and assisting the mothers and their families who have children serving in the U.S. Military.
The Rhode Island chapter began in 2005 and provides military family support. Throughout the year, members create care packages and send them to the troops. R.I. Blue Star Moms is a 501(c)(3) organization, and all donations are tax deductible.
For further information visit www.tunneltotowersrun.org .