East Texas Fire Department Takes Top Honors In World Firefighter Challenge - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/18/06-Tyler

East Texas Fire Department Takes Top Honors In World Firefighter Challenge

They trained hard for an entire year, running three days a week and lifting weights almost everyday. The firefighters' hard work paid off, as the Tyler Fire Department took top honors in the World Firefighter Combat Challenge. They've been competing in the World's Firefighter Combat Challenge for six years, but the Tyler Fire Department has never done this well.

"The 40 and over relay team, we came in third in the world and the open team came in the top eight and they have incredibly stiff competition," said Tyler firefighter Terry Hawkins. 

Hawkins and ten other Tyler firefighters say they've trained all year to compete in the event, held this year in Nevada.  "We'll do weight training, cardiovascular endurance type training and a great amount of training out on the drill field running the stadium stairs," said Hawkins.  

Last September, the community got to see first hand what these guys are up against when the combat challenge came to Tyler.

"I come down the stairs and I drag the 185 pound dummy," said Hawkins. "Coming down the stairs is fun. Dragging the dummy is not so fun."  

For 14 years, Tyler firefighter Don Williams has been competing in the individual competition. This year he finished second in the 55 and over group.

"As I get older I'm the type of guy that has to have a motivator, and this motivates me to stay in shape and train, and it's specific to our job," said Williams. 

After 14 years, Williams says he still gets nervous. "  "You still get butterflies and anticipation," said Williams. 

"You get very nervous," said Hawkins. "You get very nervous each time."

Despite the nerves, these firefighters know the competition helps them in their job.  "We are working hard for our department and our community and this is just a way of showing that we are ready to respond," said Williams. 

The firefighters say they will take a few weeks off, but then its back to training for next year. The fire department also wants to remind the community they are collecting toys for their annual toy drive. You can drop toys off at all Tyler fire stations.

Molly Reuter, Reporting. mreuter@kltv.com

 

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