Ardmore officers to participate in 9/11 memorial stair climb

ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII) - Two Ardmore police officers said they will be the first from the department to participate in the Dallas 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb on Saturday.

Sgt. Chris Mata has served Ardmore for nine years and Officer Ian Naylor has served for five.

Both were in their teenage and pre-teen years when the attacks happened.

"It pretty much took over the whole day at school," Naylor said. "Watching the news. Watching it in every class."

The officers will be climbing 110 stories at the Renaissance Tower in Dallas to honor more than 300 firefighters, 70 officers and nine EMTs who lost their lives.

"You realize the sacrifice they did that day of going into a building that's about to collapse or that type of situation, knowing that at any moment it could be your last day," Mata said.

This is the ninth year for the climb which brings in firefighters and officers from all over the country.

Naylor will be climbing in honor of Officer Mark Ellis of the NYPD transit bureau.

Mata will be climbing in honor of Officer John Levi with the New York Port Authority.

"He stayed over to do a four hour overtime shift to help out, not knowing that that was going to be his last, not going to be coming home," Mata said of Levi.

Naylor and Mata said they are honored to represent Ardmore Police Department and hope to get more officers from southern Oklahoma to participate in the future.

"People are starting to forget about it, I feel like," Naylor said. "We're not going to let people forget about it, what those officers, firemen and EMTs did that day."

The memorial stair climb begins at 8 a.m. Saturday and goes until noon.