JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — This weekend you have the opportunity to honor those who keep us safe at home and overseas.

The Jackson community came out in strong numbers last year for the Tunnel to Towers 5k Run and Walk.  


“For a first time event in Jackson it was huge. We raised almost $30,000,” said event director Jan Ganzel. “We ended up being one of the number one events in the country for our foundation last year.”


The foundation is in honor of Stephen Siller, a New York City firefighter who died at the World Trade Center on 9/11.


Since then, the foundation has put on fundraisers across the country. 


The Jackson event, now in its second year, is this Saturday.


“I’d love to beat, or at least match what we did last year,” Ganzel said.


Ganzel, who’s also a sergeant with Blackman-Leoni Public Safety, says proceeds go to building homes for disabled veterans and families of first responders killed on the job.


“Sometimes it’s as simple as paying off the mortgage to their home when their family member who’s their breadwinner has died in the line of duty,” Ganzel said.


The 5k run and walk takes you through Jackson’s Cascades Park, past a beam from the World Trade Center that came crashing down on 9/11.


Ganzel says the memorial is a focal point for people participating in the event.


“It was quite a moving thing last year, when we had firefighters stopping in front of that piece of steel to honor them,” Ganzel said.


Also running will be dozens of kids from a special running program at the Jackson YMCA.


Running program director Jenny Lapp says this provides an opportunity for kids to learn about 9/11 and mingle with law enforcement.


“See police and fireman in a positive light. It will be a good opportunity for them to run with some of the law enforcement, and see them help them along the way,” Lapp said.


Ganzel says local first responders look forward to the support they get at this event.


“You come out to an event like this, you can’t help but feel good about the career choice that you’ve made,” Ganzel said.


Online registration is closed but you can still register in person starting at 8 a.m. Saturday.


The race kicks off at 10 a.m.


To participate in the walk or run, the charge is $40 for adults, $30 for teens, and $22 for kids under 13.


Ganzel says if you mention you saw this report on 6 News or WLNS.com you can get 20 percent off when you register.


Follow this link for more information about the race: https://tunnel2towers.org/event/2018-tunnel-towers-5k-run-walk-jackson/