CFFF Courage Vol.14 NA

Vol.14

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"Y ou're crazy!" seemed to be the general reaction I got from those whom I initially approached regarding my intention to run from Grande Prairie to Peace River, Alberta, a distance totaling 206 km. To be honest, I secretly thought the same, but I did not show my trepidation about it. In 2017, I joined an online fundraising challenge that required me to run or walk 1,000 miles (over and above day-to-day activity), during the course of the year. I completed that challenge successfully, and although I was thrilled at the personal accomplishment, the recipient of the raised funds wasn't an organization that meant much to me personally. I took it upon myself to find a challenge that was out of the ordinary and would bring awareness to something that hit a little closer to home. Northern Trek for CFFF is the project I came up with: a journey where I would run with the intention to bring awareness to firefighter health and fitness. I divided the total distance into 21 sections (legs) of approximately 10 km each, which a fire department, or other party, wishing to sponsor Northern Trek could purchase for $500. The final leg wasn't sold; it was reserved for the CFFF and to honour fallen brothers and sisters. The goal to fundraise $10,000 was now set! During my campaign, many people simply asked me "Why are you doing this?" The answer is twofold: to fundraise for the CFFF and to bring awareness to the importance of fitness and healthy living within the firefighting industry. The common goal for firefighters is that "everyone goes home" and it is heard across the industry, though it is, unfortunately, not always achieved. Many line-of-duty deaths result from tragic situations, preventing the firefighter from going home. Other line of duty deaths result from the firefighter's body failing him or her. The importance of showcasing healthy living starts at the top and must then trickle down the ranks. This should be true for all services, both volunteer and career. I took it upon myself, as a Deputy Fire Chief, to lead the way and encourage my department to remain fit and healthy. It really didn't take long to sell the first few legs of the run. The support from the Northern Alberta region was unreal, and the $10K goal was quickly reached, and then exceeded. In total, Northern Trek raised $13,560 for the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation. The run itself was quite an adventure. I started on June 9th and finished on June 13th. The longest distance I had run in a day previous to the Trek had been 25km, which was less than my 57 Crossing the relentless Peace River Valley at Dunvegan on July 10th. Had the pleasure to run with Fire Chief Marcel Maure of MD Smoky River (right) for the uphill portion. Escorted by Command vehicles from Central Peace Fire & Rescue and MD Smoky River Fire Rescue. NORTHERN TREK for Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation By Julien Bergeron, Deputy Fire Chief Northern Sunrise County Protective Services, Alberta, Canada

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