Friday , 9 June 2023

Bonnyville Legion donates entry fees to BRFA for stair climbing competition in Seattle

Four members from Bonnyville’s Station 5 had their entry fees paid by the Bonnyville Legion 183 and will be heading to Seattle to climb in a firefighter stair climb challenge with funds raised going to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Then LLS Firefighter Stair climb is an annual event and for the last 31 years has raised money to fight Cancer. This year the event will be held in Seattle on March 13. Firefighters push themselves in the ultimate test during this event while wearing full gear. Coltin Batke, Dakota Theroux, Avery Lachambre and Craig Wenzel are the firefighters for team BRFA and will be travelling down to the challenge. 

“The climb is done in full firefighter turnout gear and on-air from supplied SCBA, all of this gear weighs approximately 50 pounds,” Fire Chief Craig Wenzel said. “About 2000 firefighters from across the US and from around the world will climb 69 floors (1356 stairs) of the Columbia Center in downtown Seattle.”

At 788 feet of vertical elevation, first responders will race to the top of the building to raise money for blood cancer. It’s the world’s largest on-air stair climb competition.

Chief Wenzel says the event is open to active duty or retired career and volunteer firefighters. Times for this climb can range anywhere from between 11 minutes to well over an hour.

Due to COVID restrictions, the event was turned virtual in 2020 when some members originally signed up to climb in this event and 2021 as well so this will be the first year the Bonnyville Regional Fire Authority (BRFA) be climbing in person.

“The previous two years our members climbed either at the RJ Lalonde Arena in C2, Walsh Field, or at Station 5 until we completed the total stair count,” Chief Wenzel said. “This will be substantially different for us now as this will be straight up instead of climbing up and descending one staircase 69 -100 times.”

The campaign fundraising goal of the LLS Firefighter Stair climb is $2,000,000 and is already over halfway there with just over $1,072,612 raised. The individual team goal of the BRFA is $10,000. So far they have raised $1,712.

The Bonnyville Legion 183 held a fundraiser on Saturday night, February 26, to chip in the cost of the entry fees for the members attending.

“We decided to do a fundraiser to give there a hand to get there and compete, on Saturday night we had a packed house and everybody chipped in on the meat draws and prizes and we came up with $1200 and that is what they needed to pay their entry fee in Seattle,” Legion President Jamie Beaupre told Lakeland Connect.

Chief Wenzel says, “The support of our community definitely warms our hearts.”

The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 183 very kindly and generously hosted a “Firefighter jam night” to support the BRFA.

“They were able to raise enough money to cover costs for the fundraising registration entries of all four firefighters going to the event,” Chief Wenzel concluded.

To donate to help the BRFA reach their $10,000 goal to fight Leukemia & Lymphoma Society click here.

About Arthur C. Green

Arthur C. Green is an award winning journalist and is from Whitbourne Newfoundland. Green graduated from the CNA Journalism Program. Arthur also studied Business Marketing and Political Science at Memorial University in Essex England and St. John's Newfoundland. Green has worked for such organizations as CBC, CBC Radio, NTV, Saltwire, Great West Media, CKLB Radio, River Radio, Vista Radio, and Postmedia. He also loves Jiggs Dinner and can fillet a Codfish.