Several people dressed in firefighter gear quickly grabbed a hose Friday and ran as fast as they could — but not to stop a fire.
Central Michigan University students became firemen that night at Finch Fieldhouse to support fallen firefighters.
The challenge was a fundraiser for the Fallen Firefighters Fund hosted by a group from assistant professor of Recreation, Parks and Leisure Services Tim Otteman’s RPL 430: Planning Recreation Programs and Events class.
Six teams participated, including three from the Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority. One team had employees from The Cabin and another had members of the “Morning Blitz,” a 91.5 WMHW radio show.
Team Parkour was one of the teams from Sigma Sigma Sigma and consisted of Sterling Heights junior Jennifer VanSparrentak, Chesterfield junior Danielle Dieterman, Clinton Township junior Danielle Ternullo and Livonia sophomore Shannon Rapp. They were excited to see if they had what it takes to be a firefighter.
“My dad and uncle are both firefighters, so I thought it would be interesting to see what they do for a living,” Vansparrentak said.
A tough gig
The challenge was set up as an obstacle course. Each team member had to put on a full firefighter’s uniform, pick up a hose and carry it while running through tires, crawl through a tunnel, drag a 170-pound dummy between a set of cones, run back and completely undress before the next person could go.
Team Parkour members fell behind the other team in the first leg of the race and never recovered, but none seemed concerned.
“That was a blast,” Rapp said as she left the course.
The women agreed the dummy was the hardest part. Ternullo fell as she was dragging it across the floor.
“The boots got stuck underneath (the dummy) and I fell back and hit the ground,” she said.
To raise extra money for the cause, the class sold T-shirts, food and raffle tickets for an assortment of donated prizes. Elizabeth Hillmann, a Mount Pleasant junior in Otteman’s class, guessed they raised about $300, and they would know the exact amount in the next week.
Saginaw junior and Sigma Sigma Sigma member Kristi McInerney was in charge of the event and said she was happy with the support she received from her sorority.
“I just made an announcement at a meeting and they were all very willing to help,” she said. “They’re a great group of girls.”
Team Bo, a group of seniors, won the firefighter’s challenge.
Although it did not win, Team Parkour was still happy with the way it turned out.
“We didn’t do that bad,” Vansparrentak said. “I thought we would do way worse. It was way harder than I thought.”