MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. (WGXA) - On the fifteenth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, a Baldwin County firefighter paid tribute to the first responders who lost their lives saving others.
Mike Dyer wanted to climb 110 stories in full turnout gear to honor those who did the same thing 15 years ago in the World Trade Center, but he had to get creative.
"There's no buildings around here that I can even go up and down a couple times," Dyer said.
This past Sunday, Dyer walked into a Bodyplex gym with his gear, which weighs about 75 pounds. He hopped on a stair-stepper and began the arduous climb.
He said he prepared for about three months beforehand.
For 42 minutes, story after story, he climbed. During that time, he got some attention.
"They took pictures of him and posted it on Facebook and posted it to our group message just saying how amazing it was that we had a firefighter in here doing that," said gym employee Lina Sealy.
The post got more than 1,200 shares. Sealy wasn't there Sunday to see it, but she's still feeling the inspiration.
"It just goes to show you, you never know who you're inspiring," Sealy said. "We always say that being in the gym atmosphere and being in the fitness industry, but truly, you never know what you can be doing to help inspire your community."
However, inspiration can be exhausting. Dyer said he almost passed out around the 80th floor, but kept going. After climbing the 110 stories, he just wanted to lay there, but then he remembered he was able to go home that day, unlike so many firefighters. He said his message is two-fold for those looking to achieve something.
"If you have a goal, just keep fighting for it," Dyer said. "It's not going to happen overnight." He also said he wants to serve as a reminder.
"We have a lot of chaos going on right now," Dyer said. "On that one day, 15 years ago, there was no color, there was no religion. Everybody was there for each other. It didn't matter where you went across the country or the world, and we have to remember that, especially now."
Before becoming a firefighter, Dyer was in the Navy and was honorably discharged due to an injury.
Dyer lived in the suburbs of New York City in 2001 and planned to visit the Twin Towers with his family on that September day, but fate stepped in the way. His small child was crying a lot and they decided to stay home instead. He said he'll never forget the heartbreak of that day or the hope of the city coming together.