A HUGE congratulations is in order for one of Plano’s very own firefighters, John Barrett, who began work in Plano in 2008 and made a recognizable difference in 2010 that will carry through far into the future.

Today, Driver Engineer Barrett was awarded the Liberty Mutual Firemark Award, which is presented annually to hundreds of firefighters across the nation who best represent their communities through courageous acts and who best demonstrate a selfless character. Barrett was honored with this award for founding and running what has become one of the largest North Texas memorial events commemorating the attacks of September 11, 2001. His Plano Fire-Rescue department family and wife and two small children cheered him on as he was presented with this impressive award at Plano’s Fire Station 10.

“It’s taken a lot of work over the last five years to build the event to what it is today,” Barrett said about Dallas 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb, an event that honors the fallen firefighters, law enforcement officers and EMS workers whose lives were lost during the tragedies of 9/11. A choreographed recreation of 9/11 is performed every year and active duty firefighters who travel from all over Texas climb 110 flights of stairs, a similar climb to the top of the former World Trade Center Twin Towers in NYC. Tribute pictures of those who past away that memorable September day are worn by each firefighter involved in the event.

Donations and hundreds of helpful volunteers are key to The Dallas Stair Climb’s success. Barrett graciously gave the majority of the credit to other firefighters, volunteers and planners, stating “without them the event would be nothing.” The 2015 event included more than 500 climbers and 200 volunteers.

Liberty Mutual has awarded deserving firefighters for 20 years. The local award given to Barrett represents his commendable efforts in the North Texas region and he will now be considered for the 2015 Liberty Mutual National Firemark Award, given to two winners at a national level. One is honored for heroism and the other for community service/public education, and each winner is given a $10,000 grant from Liberty Mutual for their fire departments and a personal family trip to New York. If Barrett wins the national award, the money will go to the Plano Fire-Rescue.

The sixth annual Dallas Stair Climb will be on Saturday, September 10, 2016. “We’re always looking for people to commit some of their time on the weekends to help plan the event,” said Barrett who wants to remind people who are interested in taking on a valuable role in this year’s event. “Everything from marketing to photography/videography to logistics.” All volunteer positions vitally contribute to this unique and special event.

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Colbea Smith

Colbea Smith is a young professional who grew up in Plano and loves the community she will always consider “home”. She is a proud alumna of Texas State University – Go Bobcats! – who spent most...