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Month: December 2014

Looking back at 2014

Looking back at 2014

With the 2014 winding down to a close I wanted to take the opportunity to thank everyone that has been a part of FF4CURES over the past year and everyone that I have been in touch with. Its been an amazing year, a phenomenal year, and one that is going to take some serious work to best.

Some highlights

  • Two major climbs in January
  • My first double-climb timed event in a single day.
  • My first triple-climb timed event followed by a solo civilian climb the same day.
  • Another PR in Seattle for the Scott Firefighter Stair Climb.
  • Presenting chips in person to the staff of the Scott Firefighter Stair Climb and several of my honorees.
  • 5k after 5k to keep in shape throughout the year.
  • My fastest mile recorded at 7:17
  • Two T2T races in turnout gear
  • 9/11 Stair climbs throughout September and in four states throughout the year.
  • A second place finish in a 5k.
  • A PR in Philadelphia
  • Did I mention the letters PR? Yes, the training and hard work has paid off in endurance and speed and kept beating my times consecutively.
  • Meeting more honorees!!!

Part of looking to the future of anything requires an examination of the past and what worked versus what hasn’t worked. Its easy to tell what has pushed me forward physically in the gym and fitness studio, the harder and more complicated part is what hasn’t worked. There were some negatives situations and people in 2014 as I’m sure many of us had in our lives, but its what we do with it that matters. In 2015 I look to focus more on the things that mean the most and make the most difference, to put the people that jeopardize or otherwise don’t have similar goals aside.   I look to build even more relationships that are long lasting and to push my goals even further.

I encourage everyone to take a look back to what you did, where you want to go tomorrow, and make those changes today! You have ALL of 2015 to accomplish it and the book is full of 365 pages to write that history. Best wishes for a Happy New Year

In Brotherhood….Jason

The struggle

The struggle

With some recent changes and events I’ve struggled a little with my journey and passion for paying forward. You see I’m an all in kind of person, give it, do it, make a difference, call and I’m there drop it for you kind of guy. I’m not bragging, its just I was either raised that way or inherited those traits which I want to make a difference. Long before I started the website/blog I was still doing this, the site just gave me a place to put those ideas down, inspire, share, and encourage others. I knew going into this blogging gig that it had the potential to ruffle feathers or maybe cause a stir (even though its about paying forward and doing good), but it was worth it. As a photojournalist for many years outside of firefighting I pondered every photo and every word often, wondering what might be said about it. The reality is that people are going to talk, so give them something to talk about. Thanks to the wonderful freedoms that we enjoy, the ability for these writings to be almost instantly everywhere online opens the material up to a wide audience.

I found it ironic that a Brother firefighter whom I not only look up to, but inspired me to do more by starting my blog recently wrote a post titled “Value”. Captain Wines of IronFireman.com is someone I have followed since he started writing and I decided to hang out my shingle because of the good I saw his blog doing. We all have our niche in writing and service, if there was one thing that I wanted to do similar it was speak my mind and make a difference for people.

Being a person that believes in signs and a variety of other phenomena I just couldn’t believe my eyes that it popped up on my media feed so I clicked. When I’ve been down or searching, Capt Wines and Rhett over at FireCritic.com have often pushed me with their words so I read on. He nailed it with the last line, “I value waking up. I value the chance to get up every morning and try again. The chance to try to get it right this time…to do the right thing.” He nails it, frequently with his articles and the work that he does. He doesn’t pull too many punches and says what needs to be said.

As I was reading and re-reading the article the morning it came out I pondered my value, and the work that goes into this, paying forward, and helping others. It didn’t take a lot of soul searching, checking text messages from brothers, looking at images with honorees, and remembering where I’ve been to remember my value. Still the pain of comments that were made and cheap shots taken at charities, dedication, and people making a difference burned like fire. I’m not just talking about the being out there and doing the work and making a difference, I’m talking about the promotion and the talking about what we’re doing. I’m far from the first out there to be promoting what we do and more than anything its about talking up the who and why we are out there doing what we do. Its even better when we can inspire others to do the same thing and get more support for the causes and encourage the brotherhood. I’ve got a list a mile long of other bloggers out there in the fire service, specifically those competing and involved with philanthropy and it’s a very positive thing.

Do we inspire other people? I guess I don’t have to look further than my main event every year, the Scott Firefighter Stair Climb, as we hit our 24th year and are represented by 1900 firefighters from 338 departments. Its almost doubled in size and this year we will hit the $10 million dollars raised, so I guess we’ve inspired many to get involved and make a difference. We bring people from all over the United States and several countries and are supported by a backbone of our own every year to make sure that we are successful. Yeah, I would say that the promotion is doing good things. We have a lot of pride in what we do, we watch to push others, inspire, influence, and I know thank the people that back us.

I know the great feeling it is to inspire others, I think we all do because its what we are challenged to do. The first time that I had someone stop me at an event and thank me was a motivation in and of itself. The emails, the messages, and seeing the success stories in and out of the fire service was something I didn’t expect and wasn’t something I was asking for. If I can make the difference in the life of a few and those in turn can go make a difference in a few then we are an unstoppable force. There are many ups and downs with doing this work when you are involved with charities that fight disease or other issues. Sometimes our very own pages and blogs work to inspire those that are already out there doing the same thing. We as a brotherhood lifting each other up and providing some “mutual-aid” when others are down is key.

Maybe what I write and what others and I out here are doing doesn’t fit your persona or reading habits and that’s fine, and I guess that’s why there are so many of us out there doing this because we all have our own views.  I read and follow many, but not all because not every writer fits my style.  Every day I wake up, look at my mailbox, inbox, feeds, etc and without hesitation know that I am making a difference and it pushes me to do more! As this year winds to a close I look forward to meeting even more of you at upcoming events in 2015 and to continue paying forward.

Winding down to the holiday

Winding down to the holiday

Things have wound down with competition for a couple weeks as I head into the busy holidays this Christmas.  Its been a rough few weeks with some major changes, a couple small injuries, and the holiday always being rough.  28 years ago Saturday (12/13/1986) was when my mom Peggy was diagnosed with Leukemia at Ashland Samaritan Hospital, but that wasn’t what got her there.

It was a day like any other, it was a snowy Saturday morning as we piled into dads old pickup “big red” and took off for Ashland.  You see my dad was driving my sister and I to Christmas play practice at church about 50 minutes away.  Mom wasn’t feeling good that morning so she decided to come along and go to the doctor’s office to be seen.  What we didn’t know is that while we were at play practice being normal kids, she had an ovarian cyst burst and was bleeding out.  She was rushed over to the emergency room at the hospital where they fought to bring her back.

We weren’t tipped off to what was going on until play practice was over.  Parents were picking our friends up and the church was emptying, one by one they left, as we tried to figure out where our parents were.  They were never late, and this was way before text messaging and cell phones to check up on them.  A call came in to the church and the pastor took us over to the hospital.  That’s where things get fuzzy, childhood was changed, and I know my memory is quite different to say the least.  The short of the story is when they got blood drawn and were working to revive and stabilize her the blood work came back and she was diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML).  Countless surgeries, countless medications, hospital stays, emergency visits, trial and error, and a long list of problems, her cure came in a last ditch effort and an unrelated not complete match from the Netherlands.  This was the first of its type at The Ohio State University Hospital in Columbus.  Again, long story short…it worked.  She is here today thriving and surviving, active and healthy.

Her story which I hope to completely capture someday soon is one that is so motivational to me and I know has been motivational to others.  Her story and her influence on me is what started my journey to helping others through not only the fire service, but through philanthropy and the charity work done.  FF4CURES.COM and all the work I have put into this is because someone gave her a chance by paying forward and I will do the same as long as physically possible.

As I look to the New Year, the competition and challenges ahead, it is easy to focus on the good that is being done as I see brothers out there doing the same thing.  Train hard, make a difference, pay forward, and keep going.
Climb…Conquer…Cure…