StoryCorps
10:43 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Running as a fireman: Remembering Sept. 11 all year, every year.

Fireman Rob and his fiance Nicole Maley tell Rob's story of why he wears fireman gear in his races.
Credit STORYCORPS / UTAH PUBLIC RADIO

Robert Verhelst ran the St. George Ironman in May. He runs many full and half Ironmans in full firefighter gear, which weighs 50 pounds,  as a token of remembrance for Sept. 11, 2001.

In 2001 Rob did 8 days of search and recovery under the wreckage of the Twin Towers. He said he still remembers what it was like.

"It took a lot of years to be able to overcome what I had seen there and what I had done. To live each day- you don't know what is going to happen at the end of the day," Rob said. "Being a part of that recovery effort was amazing. It didn't matter who you were- when you were on that site you were an American. You were there for the purpose of rebuilding what had been taken from us."

Rob said many of the days he worked around the Towers were 20-hour days, but he didn't realize it until after because he just kept going and going.

They didn't get a chance to see the next sunrise. They didn't get a chance to have another birthday. You do. Take advantage of that. Make sure every single day is important.

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