Firefighters head to New York in memory of fallen colleagues

Press Release – helloworld


Local firefighters head to New York in memory of fallen colleagues

Auckland, 28 February 2017: In remembrance of their fallen colleagues, and police officers, a team of Henderson based firefighters are off to take on the daunting challenge of climbing 72 flights of stairs in the Freedom Tower on the site of the former World Trade Center in New York.

The team is competing in the 3rd Annual New York City Firefighter Stair Climb with each firefighter climbing in honour of the 343 firefighters and 23 police officers that lost their lives on September 11 2001.

And there’s another reason behind their motivation to compete – fitness and improving work performance in the New Zealand Fire Service. Competing in the event is also part of a drive by the Fire Service to encourage its staff to keep fit to help ensure that they perform their jobs to the highest possible level.

The fitness regime is being led by Henderson ‘Greenwatch’ and stair climb team member Lisa McCallum (47), who is also a personal trainer and has competed in numerous stair climb events gaining international honours.

Wearing full fire fighting kit, and an oxygen tank, it takes hours and hours of strenuous training to prepare for the event. “We train about 10 times a week, including spin classes at the gym and actual stair climbing at Sentinel Apartment tower block in Takapuna, both fully kitted up and also sometimes just in running gear, to fully prepare us for stair climbing in the actual events,” Lisa says.

“The competition requirement is to compete fully kitted up and can’t remove your mask at all during the climb. It’s a delicate balance to ensure that you don’t run out of air before the finish line.”

The team – Dillon Harris (33), Kevin MacDonald (41) and Lisa’s son Corey McCallum (22) – are all fundraising to get to the event with helloworld Travel helping with accommodation in the US and American Airlines with flights.

David Libeau, helloworld General Manager Marketing says, “helloworld is pleased to be helping the team with their trip. It’s a fabulous fundraising cause and at the same time it’s also helping to ensure our firefighters are fit and ready to their job to their best ability, they do an amazing job and play a vital role in every community in the country.”

Mario Santander, American Airlines Country Manager New Zealand, echoes David’s thoughts. “Being able to help the team get to the USA to compete is our pleasure and we wish them all the best with their challenge ahead.”

Before competing in the New York stair climb on March 19 the team first heads to Seattle for the Columbia Center stair climb on March 12, a challenging 69 floors and 1,356 steps.

The Henderson team is fundraising to travel to the US with any surplus funds being donated to the designated 2017 charity of the Friends of Firefighters in New York and with a donation also going to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for the Seattle event. Their fundraising target is $10,000 and the total is currently sitting at around $3,000.

As part of the fundraising Lisa has also painted a Piha landscape, which is for auction on TradeMe

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