Honoring a 9/11 Hero – A Sister’s Athletic Tribute to her Late Firefighter Brother

 

Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony J. Santino was filled with pride as he saluted the sister of a heroic FDNY firefighter who was killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11. The Supervisor recognized Kerri Kiefer-Viverto, sister of FDNY hero firefighter Michael Kiefer, as she prepared to compete in the 2016 Hempstead Town Triathlon, the same event that her brother tackled two days before he perished at Ground Zero.

“It seems that admirable qualities run in the family,” began Santino. “It comes as no surprise that this valiant brother has such an electrifying sister. Her staunch commitment to this tribute is endearing and truly something to be proud of.”

On September 9, 2001, Michael Kiefer competed in the 17thAnnual Town of Hempstead Triathlon. Nine months prior to the race, he achieved his lifelong dream of becoming a member of the FDNY, and was assigned to Ladder Company 132 in Brooklyn. Michael had dedicated his life to protecting others, serving as a lifeguard and volunteer firefighter before joining his company. Coincidentally, upon checking in to the triathlon, Michael received his runner’s bib with the familiar number of 132.

That triathlon was the last time Michael saw his family, as he rushed into the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, where he died. Now, 15 years later, his sister, Kerri Kiefer-Viverto, will be representing the number 132 as she competes in the 32ndAnnual Town of Hempstead Triathlon in honor of her brother.

“Kerri’s dedication to her brother is inspirational,” stated Santino. “I’m proud that our treasured triathlon is giving her the opportunity to salute her heroic brother.”

Kerri has been training for months in preparation for the triathlon. She is currently living with Multiple Sclerosis and aspires to spread hope to others living with the disease. Her athletic history includes a 5k run, but she has no experience competing in biking and swimming events. She spends two hours each day running, swimming and biking to ready herself for the arduous race.

“I feel like I’m really following in his footsteps by participating in an event that he was truly passionate about,” said Kerri. “Health and fitness were very important to him, and I’m trying my best to make him proud.”

The biking part of the race will offer her a sense of comfort as Kerri will be using the bike her brother rode on as he competed in his last triathlon. This symbolic gesture will give her an extra boost of confidence during the race as her brother will be with her every step of the way.

“The Kiefer’s are a family that embodies the very best of Hempstead Town,” concluded Santino. “This heartwarming story of a sister’s homage to her valiant brother is absolutely remarkable. I would like to thank the Kiefer’s for making this event even more special for all of the participants.”