I want to thank you and your staff for allowing my students to participate in the Corporate Challenge segment of the Firefighter Combat Challenge event in Louisville, Kentucky on August 22, 2015. I expected that my students would learn just how taxing the occupation of firefighting can be (they did); what I did not expect was the lengths to which your outstanding staff would go to make them feel a part of the brotherhood and culture of the fire service.
During the initial introduction of the competitors, they arranged for my students to exit the tent last and to walk the gauntlet of all the other competitors, high-fiving and fist-bumping the other competitors the entire length of the course. I am a 25-year veteran of the fire service, and even I thought that was an incredible experience; I can only imagine what it meant to the kids. We stood with the other competitors through the National Anthem, and the introduction of the state MDA spokesperson. It really showed my students what the firefighting family is all about. Many of my students took the time during the event to seek that young man out just to say hello. They found that he is also from the Fairdale area, and will be in the community parade in which we are marching next month.
We initially had 3 4-person teams compete, and again, the staff showed their support, assisting where necessary (some of my students overestimated their fitness level) and announcing their names to the crowd, which was also very supportive. Later in the event, we put together what we felt would be our fastest five-person team. I challenged them to break 3 minutes, and they did, finishing in 2:51.
Again, thank you for providing my students with such an outstanding opportunity. We look forward to future opportunities: I have already been promised an assault on the two-minute mark.
Jeffery T. Birt
Fairdale High School Fire Science and EMS Academy