PLYMOUTH — In an emergency situation a fireman is known to be able to endure great hardship and trial to save lives. One Plymouth fireman is taking that a step — make that a jog — further.
Plymouth fireman John Pasley will be running the full course of this year’s Blueberry Stomp. You likely won’t be able to recognize him by his face because you probably won’t be able to see it. In order to help Riley’s Children’s Hospital, Pasley will run the full 9.3 miles in full fire gear -— including helmet and airpack.
“I’m going to modify the helmet a little bit,” admitted Pasley. “The normal helmet we wear weighs three pounds all by itself and I had neck surgery a few years ago and I don’t really want to do that again so I’ll be wearing a modified helmet. That and running shoes instead of boots, but everything else is full turnout gear.”
Pasley got the idea a year ago watching a fellow fireman from another city run the course in his gear.
“I really kind of felt sorry for him because he was out there all by himself, I thought somebody should be doing it with him,” said Pasley. “I called some friends of the guy and found out he wasn’t going to do it this year but I started thinking that I could do it by myself and why not do it to raise money for a good cause.”
The cause is one is close to Pasley’s heart.
“(Fellow Plymouth firemen) Art Jacobs’ daughter Hanna has been helped (at Riley’s) and Heath Neidig’s daughter has been there,” said Pasley. “Every time we are at a scene and something critical happens with a child, the helicopter takes them to Riley’s. I wanted to do something on a personal level to help.”
He is under no illusions about setting any course records on the run.
“I ran this race about 18 or 19 years ago and in a little over an hour. It was like the Kentucky Derby,” said Pasley. “I’m not a thoroughbred anymore, I’m a Clydesdale. And that air pack alone weighs 25 pounds. I did try running with it the other day and it was really tough at the start but it got easier and I was able to go about six miles with it. I’m not a runner but I am a competitor and if it’s me and those kids against 9.3 miles I’m know we’re going to do it.”
To support Pasley, call him at the Plymouth Fire Station, 574-936-2156 or simply send a donation to the Riley Kid’s Foundation to the Fire Station at 111 N. Center Street in Plymouth.