Some local firefighters are going to put on an apron and wait tables Monday night to raise money for cystic fibrosis.
The team from the La Grande Fire Department, which is raising money for its participation in the 2017 Portland Firefighter Stairclimb Challenge, will partner with the staff at Local Harvest Eatery and Pub to serve tables, according to Bruce Rogers, co-owner at Local Harvest. The Stairclimb will benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
“My niece has cystic fibrosis,” Rogers said. “Anyone who knows someone with that disease knows how hard it can be. That’s why it’s important for us to do this. For her.”
Cystic fibrosis is an inherited life-threatening disorder that damages the lungs and digestive system.
Rogers said his niece, Dana Rogers, 29, is currently on the coast to escape the smoky air.
On Sept, 24, the six-member LGFD team will race up 40 floors, or 800 steps, of the US Bancorp Tower in Portland, competing with other firefighters from all over the world.
The firefighters will be wearing their full gear — more than 70 pounds — including their Self Contained Breathing Apparatus.
This won’t be the first Stairclimb for team member Misty Johnson. Although she’d promised herself she’d never do it again, she’s been training hard for this year’s competition for two months.
“I had been watching other members train for the competition and decided to go for it,” Johnson recalled. “After doing it, I told myself never again.”
The teams are separated into battalions by age and physical capabilities, Johnson said, and women compete alongside their male counterparts. It’s definitely a male-dominated competition, she said, but that wasn’t the part that bothered her.
“There were buckets in the stairwells, but I didn’t understand what they were for,” she said with a laugh. “By the third floor, though, I was looking for an exit.”
Those buckets, she found out, were used by those who felt sick.
She said her quads were killing her by the end, but she made it, and she feels more confident about the competition this time around.
Firefighters Steve Hoge, Tracy Harris, Dusty Alam, Stan Grove and Ian Tattam will also compete at the Stairclimb.
That’s not before they serve tables on Monday, though.
The team will be in their turnout gear, working for tips alongside the wait staff, Johnson said.
Rogers said the construction on Island Avenue shouldn’t be an issue. For those who want to eat at home, there is car-side pickup, and phone contributions may also be made.
The team will help serve from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Local Harvest, 2104 Island Avenue, La Grande. Contributions toward the fundraiser will be taken all day, however, and all proceeds from salad bar sales for the day will go to the team.
For more information, or to phone in a contribution, call 541-962-1000.
Additionally, a bake sale will take place Saturday to raise money for the Stairclimb. From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 9, the sale will be held in the front parking lot of the fire station, 1806 Cove Ave.