Jim Neville, retired from Morton Grove, IL paid us a visit at the Boulder County Fair just a couple of weeks ago. He brought with him some of his Challenge Bling pictured below. At some urging several years ago, I asked Jim to give me a quick synopsis of what the Challenge meant to him. His remarks from 2008 are posted below:
|Jim Neville Finished in Third Place in the Over 50 Category in 1999|
Thank you for being persistent, and sorry I have not had a chance to get to my emails very frequently to respond to you. To have an interview is going to be tough but I want to respond to you on my thoughts of the Challenge by email. Where do you start, 16 years is a long time. I got so that I was fast enough to be competitive but not fast enough to be in the elite, needless to say, it was a great career, my only regret is I wish you would have come up with it sooner. I am going to retire this year 08 with 29 yrs, we are in the process of getting things moved, so it is a very busy time.
The Challenge has been nothing but positive for my career. It has been a tool to help me stay focused on my job. Career advancement from firefighter/paramedic, Lieutenant, District Chief, to college from 2-year junior college, 4-year Bachelors in Fire Science, 2 year Masters in Management Degree. I think I told you I had written a number of papers through out my college career on the Challenge, and do you think that I could find one of them, cause I would send one to you, they got to be packed away in one of these boxes somewhere, but what I can tell you is that I got A's on them.
The Challenge has helped me to stay fit and to see the value of physical fitness for the rest of my life. It helped me to survive in New Orleans (Slidell) for three weeks without much sleep, once again the value of physical fitness. I qualified for the finals that year and I wanted to compete real bad, but the priority was New Orleans, that‘s our job.
The Crüe- what can I say, they are the best. If there is anything that I can say or do to help them get a raise then so be it cause they are so well worth it. The 16 years I have competed they have been very professional and have worked very hard at the different sites to keep the show going, my hats off to them. Rick Payne, John Forsberg, these guys took me under their wing when I was competing by myself, both former competitors and lifelong friends, they exemplify the true challenge spirit and the fire service. Clint Lamb a great competitor and friend. Bill Edwards a southern boy that gets after it and I'm proud to know him. Rex- what can I say about Rex, It is an honor to know him. To watch him work tirelessly and with passion at this last Finals was truly inspirational to me; he is truly the mouthpiece for the challenge and my lifelong friend.
Now to get down to what this email is all about. The Firefighter Combat Challenge has passed all barriers, Age, Race, Gender, (18-60+), (Brown, White, Black), (Male, Female), (Short-Tall), anyone who steps onto the course my hat goes off to them and I would be proud to work right along side everyone of them.
The Challenge inspires confidence (I can do this and my time can get faster) from competitors and hope (maybe if I get out of the Barco lounger and improve my physical fitness, maybe it will be a lifelong health habit improvement for me) for would be competitors. The Challenge has helped the public and village employers to accept, hey he's 60+, he or she is short, hey that's a female, and what's the difference if he or she is black, white or brown because they are proving they can do it, and as a competitor you don't see any barriers because you understand the training and commitment it takes to compete.
Paul excuse me for rambling, but I get a little passionate about the Challenge, and excuse the spelling cause my spell check doesn't work and my dictionary is in a box somewhere.
The Challenge is raising it another notch and I am proud to have known you and to have been a part of it.
God's speed my friend and Happy New Year