Hiking the stairwell – for a cause

0

For the fourth consecutive year, Ronnie Dickerson will climb more than one thousand stairs to reach the top of the Columbia Center in Seattle.

The 23rd Annual Scott Firefighter Stair Climb is March 9 and professes to be the largest firefighting competition in the world. The annual event raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Ronnie Dickerson will participate in the 2014 Scott Firefighter Stair Climb for the fourth consecutive year. Tim Kraack will not be climbing this year, but will go to support Mr. Dickerson and to change his bottle. The two men hope to raise close to $3,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Ronnie Dickerson will participate in the 2014 Scott Firefighter Stair Climb for the fourth consecutive year. Tim Kraack will not be climbing this year, but will go to support Mr. Dickerson and to change his bottle. The two men hope to raise close to $3,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Around 1,800 firefighters from across the United States and other countries will make the 69-story ascent up the Columbia Center, which is the second tallest building west of the Mississippi. Firefighters will wear more than 50 pounds of firefighting gear including boots, pants, jackets, gloves, helmet and self-contained breathing equipment.

“I thought last year might be my last year,” Mr. Dickerson said. “But on every floor there is a picture posted in memory of somebody who didn’t make it and I couldn’t believe how young they were. I thought somebody has to go and do this so this will be my fourth year. It raises money for a great cause.”

When Mr. Dickerson first heard about the event, he thought it would be fun. And while he enjoys it, it is quite a bit of work, he said.

After hearing about the event, he told his friend and fellow firefighter Tim Kraack about it. When Mr. Kraack received some comments that he was too old and that he wouldn’t be able to make it to the top he set out to prove his critics wrong.

Mr. Kraack had his fastest time last year. He ascended the 788 foot building in less than 30 minutes. However, it was also his last.

“They sent me up after Ronnie and when I got to the 40th floor and found that he had already been there and gone, I took off like a rocket. I sort of panicked,” he recalled. “I knew last year would be my last year. My knees can’t handle it anymore. It’s too tough on me so it’s time to retire.I have the seniority so I decided Ronnie could climb.”

“I still think I can make it to the top,” Mr. Dickerson said.

Though he won’t be doing climbing this year, Mr. Kraack has plans to continue to participate.

“I’m going to be changing Ronnie’s bottle this year so I’ll get to ride the elevator. This is still a great cause and I can still raise money. I would hope my friends and family would continue to donate like they have in the past,” he said.

The two St. Maries firefighters are now accepting donations. They have an account set up at AmericanWest Bank.

“We ask everyone to donate $10 or whatever they have,” Mr. Kraack said.

For the last three years, the men have raised around $3,000 collectively. They hope they can raise close to that amount again this year. As part of the rules, each participant is required to collect at least $75 in donations for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

“But if you raise $1,000 or more, than you are guaranteed to have a spot in next year’s event,” Mr. Dickerson said. “And that’s pretty important because spaces fill up fast.”

The two men have already started training for the event.

“I’ve been riding a pedal bike and a treadmill,” Mr. Dickerson said. “I usually take my time on the climb. I take it slow. I finished the climb in 45 minutes last year.”

“I’ll be getting into a lot of elevators,” Mr. Kraack joked.

The two men said they would be interested in learning of anyone in the area who has fought leukemia or lymphoma. They climbed in honor of the late Dr. John Thomson last year, who used to change their air tanks for them, and their friends Charlie Derry and Roger Gentry.

“We’d love to represent somebody from home,” Mr. Dickerson said.

“We’ll strap photos to his tank and helmet,” Mr. Kraack said.

Donations, Mr. Dickerson said, will be taken through the end of March. For more information about the event, or to give them a name and photo of someone fighting cancer, call Mr. Dickerson at 245-6639 or 568-1419; or Mr. Kraack at 689-3681.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Comments are closed.