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Central Ohio Firefighters and Friends Climb to the Top

May 13. 2008

Local firefighters volunteered to scale 40 flights in full gear for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's Central Ohio Chapter’s recent Climb for a Cure.
Local firefighters volunteered to scale 40 flights in full gear for the Central Ohio Chapter’s recent Climb for a Cure. (Photo courtesy of the Columbus Dispatch, Neal C. Lauron)
It was truly an uphill battle for the 120 firefighters who volunteered to scale 40 flights in full gear for the Central Ohio Chapter’s recent Climb for a Cure. At the end of the day, however, firefighters were triumphant as they reached the summit, helping Central Ohio to raise $50,000, more than double its revenue from the previous year.

The success of the event, held in late February, was all the sweeter, as it came on the heels of some unexpected challenges. “We were really operating with very few resources and very little time,” says Executive Director Susan Deutschle. “Still, we had lots of energy and loads of encouragement.”

An early partnership with the Columbus Division of Fire led to more partnerships with fire departments throughout central Ohio. This team approach, along with good coverage in local newspapers and on local television stations, helped spread the word about the event. After a quick relay of emails and phone calls, the firefighters were joined by more than 100 “general public” climbers. Participants included a group of 40 musicians from the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, who donned tuxedos, carried their instruments and made the 40-story climb on behalf of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

After a stirring performance from the Columbus Fire and Police Pipe and Drums Unit, State Representative and Honorary Climb Chair Larry Flowers clanged the fire bell of the Rhodes State Office Tower three times to signal the firefighters’ ascent. While climbers made the trek to the 40th floor, children were entertained in the “Kids Zone” by Sparky the Fire Dog, who handed out miniature fire hats and badges.

Many thanks go to the Columbus Division of Fire and 20 other Central Ohio fire departments and 12 firefighter unions, longtime climber Russ Gill who presented a $12,500 check during the event, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and corporate sponsor Kohl’s department store.

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is an accredited charity of the Better Business Bureau.