ANKENY, Iowa — The fifth annual Tunnel to Towers 5K is returning to Ankeny in September.

The Tunnel to Towers Foundation is a 9/11 memorial organization with a mission to never forget that tragic day and the ones who gave their lives to help.

The organization was founded in memory of Stephen Siller, a New York City firefighter, who lost his life on 9/11. When he heard about the first plane hitting the World Trade Center he grabbed his gear and ran from the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the towers. The three mile run honors his memory by recreating his final steps.

In addition to honoring those who lost their lives on 9/11, the foundation also honors first responders, military personnel, and those who continue to serve by raising money. The funds raised provide mortgage free homes or mortgage payoff for those who lost their lives in the line of duty. Smart homes are also given to catastrophically wounded veterans.

Amy Ryan, Tunnel to Towers organizer, said the hope of the fundraiser is to help alleviate some burden for these families.

“I know that these families have a lot of hardships that they endure, but to be able to alleviate some small burden is helpful by turning this tragedy into positivity,” Ryan said.

The Tunnel to Towers Foundation paid the mortgage of Iowa State Trooper Ted Benda, who died in a car accident while on his way to assist a Clayton County Sheriff Deputy on a call in October 2021.

The 5K will begin at 120 NW Ash Drive at 8:30 a.m. on September 11. Ryan said the organization is still looking for volunteers to help with the 5K. All of the information about the race can be found on their website.