Aria Grillo, whose family has a home in Amagansett, was among the 30,000 participants in the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers run/walk on Sunday in honor of a firefighter who lost his life on 9/11.
Grillo was just one of the 100 or so people from the East Hampton area who took part in the annual event, running in memory of another firefighter who was killed at the World Trade Center in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Grillo grew up on Duane Street in Tribeca, just a few doors down from the Engine 1 Ladder 7 firehouse. She said she always felt connected to the firefighters, but none so strong than on 9/11.
"My home was badly damaged and I remember all of the firemen working tirelessly to help save anyone they could," she said.
One of her best friends, Tara Feinberg, lost her father, Alan Feinberg, a 48-year-old assistant to the Battalion Chief. He was killed at the World Trade Center with his brothers from Battalion 9, Engine 54.
According to news reports, he worked for the FDNY for 19 years, 18 of which were spent at Engine 40, Ladder 35. A little more than a year before 9/11, he had been a battalion chief aide in Midtown. He lived in Marlboro, NJ.
Grillo and Tara's boyfriend, Matthew Edgette, ran this year's race and raised almost $1,000 for the Stephen Siller Foundation.
Grillo, who lives in New York City, is also a Junior Board member for Tuesday's Children, a 9/11 children and families charity based in Manhasset.
"I try to stay as involved with 9/11 charities as I can, and do so year round because to so many people, 9/11 is not just a day, or something you remember once a year, it effects so many of us, on a daily basis, and it's so important to do all we can to never forget and honor all those who we lost," she said.
Grillo said she was thrilled to see firefighters from the South Fork there along the route. "It's amazing to see fire fighters from all over the country and even the world come and support this run, but for New Yorkers, it was so awesome to see "our own" running together, the fire departments from Springs, Amagansett, and East Hampton were running near each other - it was so great to see South Fork pride!," she said.
RELATED: See photos from East Hampton fire department members at the Tunnel to Towers race.