SOUTHPORT, Ind. -- A second-grader at Southport Elementary School wasn't alive during the attacks on Sept. 11, but has made it his mission to honor the lives lost 17 years ago.
Last Saturday, Eli Thompson climbed over 100 flights of stairs during a memorial climb in Yellow Springs, Ohio.
"I wanted to climb 110 flights of stairs for 9/11 and for all the firefighters that died," said Thompson.
This was the 7-year-old's second year participating in the Yellow Springs 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb, where he climbed 110 stories, symbolizing the height of the World Trade Center.
With an American flag in his hand, Thompson held the firefighters close to his heart, all the way to the top.
"Eli has gone through the mobile 9/11 exhibit, met firefighters who were at Ground Zero and really had taken a strong interest in knowing what happened that day and about the heroes of that day," said Eli's mother, Lisa Thompson. "My husband and I have made sure to foster that because we don't want anyone to forget."
Thompson wants to be a firefighter when he gets older and reveres the 9/11 firefighters for their bravery.
"This is Fireman Fred," said Thompson. "He was the first one to go into the Twin Towers. He knew there was danger up there, but he still went to save people. I think he's a really good firefighter because he's brave and never let anyone down."
Funds raised from the stair climb benefit the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, which supports families who've lost loved ones in the line of duty.
At Saturday's climb, Thompson also dedicated one of his laps to fallen Southport Lt. Aaron Allan.