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BLM California News.bytes 
News.bytes Extra, issue 572

BLM-California Firefighter Uses Skills to Battle a Different Kind of Threat

Joe Johnson, a firefighter in the BLM's Eagle Lake Field Office, did well in a grueling Firefighter Stairclimb event held March 10 to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

photo of man named Joe Johnson
Joe Johnson was the only BLM firefighter in the event.

Participants dressed in full structural fire turnout gear climbed 69 flights of stairs, that's 1,311 steps, ascending 788 vertical feet to reach the observation deck of the 73-story Columbia Center in Seattle.

Joe placed 208th out of 1,475 finishers in the event and did his part to raise funds to battle these blood cancers. He placed 157th in his age group of 950 participants, completing the climb in 16 minutes, 49 seconds.

man in full firefighter gear

Johnson, in full turnouts, starts out on the 788 vertical-foot course.

Johnson, who works to stay in top physical condition, said he decided to take on the Stairclimb for the physical challenge and because the event raises money for a good cause.   Family, friends and coworkers contributed. He is thinking about competing again next year and has been mulling over strategies to improve his competitive edge.

"I have had family members who have passed from cancer and related issues, and I wanted to do this for them," Johnson said, "But I also wanted to prove to myself that I was capable of doing this, and to show the folks in the structural fire protection world that wildfire folks are capable competing here as well. It was physically demanding because of all the gear, and really hot in those turnouts," he said. "It was hard climbing with so many other people, going by some who were leaning against the walls, just trying to catch their breath and keep going. I had to put those images out of my head, stay focused and ignore the pain."
Johnson is assigned to fire engine 3231 based in Susanville.
The Scott Firefighter Stairclimb supports the mission of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, raising money through sponsorships, individual and department fundraising, and entry fees. In 2012, the event featured 1,550 firefighters from 291 different departments and brought in a record $1.2 million for blood-cancer research and patient services.

Full results of this year's event, including the current fundraising total, can be found at http://www.llswa.org/site/PageServer?pagename=FF_about.

 -- Jeff Fontana, BLM Northern California District Public Affairs (March 2013)

BLM California News.bytes, issue 572 -- To subscribe to News.bytes, send an e-mail to: mailto:Join-Newsbytes@List.ca.blm.gov OR visit our News.bytes subscription page.

Last updated: 03-21-2013