By Emily Fitzgerald / [email protected]
At least 17 firefighters from four local fire departments traveled from Lewis County to Seattle on Sunday to climb the 69 floors of the Columbia Center as part of the 32nd annual Fire Escape.
Participating firefighters climbed the Columbia Center in full structural turnout gear, while airborne, to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
“Completing the climb is a physical triumph in itself, but is also symbolic of, but pales in comparison to, the grueling journey blood cancer patients endure,” Firefighter Stairclimb organizers say on the event’s website. “As firefighters race to the top, they remember that each step forward is representative of moving toward finding a cure for all those fighting this terrible disease.”
Four Lewis County fire departments – Winlock Fire and Rescue, Chehalis Fire, Riverside Fire Authority and Lewis County Fire District 6 – had teams of firefighters participate in this year’s ladder.
Winlock Fire and Rescue, also known as Lewis County Fire District 15, raised $5,011 and had eight firefighters participate: Justin Shoemaker, Kellen Newberry, Patrick Jacobson, Justin Wilkey, Jonpaul Blum, Kelsey Williams, Amy Chambers-Farden and Chief Rich Underdahl.
The Chehalis Fire had four firefighters participate – Daniel Ford, Abraham Meyer, Jacob Ross and Pat Glover – and raised $1,207.
The Riverside Fire Authority raised $3,144 and had two firefighters, Scott Weinert and William Ariss, participate.
Lewis County Fire District 6 had three firefighters participate – Devin Schlapbach, Mike Goodwillie and Kylie Bretzel – and raised a total of $4,014.
In total, the more than 300 participating teams across the nation raised $2,072,238 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society this year.
More information about the Firefighter Stairclimb, including each firefighter’s results, is available online at https://www.llswa.org/site/TR?fr_id=1730&pg=entry.
Sunday’s event was specifically for firefighters, but non-firefighters can complete the same challenging climb up the Columbia Center on March 26 during the Big Climb, which also benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Registration for The Big Climb is open online at https://www.llswa.org/site/TR?fr_id=1720&pg=entry.