Clear Lake firefighters “Fight for Air” with climb

Aaron Forsythe (32), Aaron Ruggles (59), Chris Wessels (84) and Justin Becthold (78) participated in the “Fight for Air Climb” in Des Moines.-Submitted photo.

by Marianne Gasaway

Four Clear Lake firefighters tested their skills in a fun and rewarding way.

Aaron Forsythe, Aaron Ruggles, Chris Wessels and Justin Becthold raced up the stairs of four downtown buildings in Des Moines as participants in the American Lung Association’s “Fight For Air Climbs.”  The group was fully outfitted in their CLFD turnout gear, as well as carrying self-contained breathing apparatus.

The climbs are one of the Association’s signature fundraising events and stair climbs are held in prominent skyscrapers around the country. Climbers join friends, family, co-workers or go alone to climb the stairs of designated buildings.  Over the last several years, Fight For Air Climbs have raised more than $53 million to support the mission of the American Lung Association.

The April 7 climb in Des Moines used EMC building, the Financial Center, Hub Tower and the Ruan Center.

The Clear Lake crew was among over 1,300 people who climbed stairs in Des Moines— 85 floors with 1,796 stairs to be specific— to raise money for lung cancer research and local programs to help Iowans with lung disease. Each member of the team raised more than $100.

The American Lung Association reports this year’s Fight For Air Climb event raised $332,886.

The organization says that money will go toward raising awareness for lung disease, funding research and programs to help local children better manage their asthma as well as programs to help people quit smoking.

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