Three years ago Plymouth Fireman John Pasley decided he would take his annual run in the Stomp to another level â€“ donning his full fire gear to make the run and raising money and awareness as part of the â€śRiley Gear Runâ€ť for Riley Children’s Hospital. Pasley chose the charity because of what the hospital has meant to many children and families in Marshall County.
For two years Pasley and several other firemen he’s recruited have made the 9.3 mile run in full fire fighting gear. Last year Pasley made a special helmet for the event having it signed by children and Doctors at Riley’s and wearing it during the run a year ago â€“ which was supposed to be his last.
Something happened to change Pasley’s mind.
â€śWe had a pair of twins born right after the start of the year, four months premature and they couldn’t breathe,â€ť said Pasley. â€śAfter working on them for an hour I kept thinking, ‘why can’t Riley’s be closer’. I’m not sure they could have saved them really but it was at that point I felt I had to run at least one more time in honor of all the kids who never make it to Riley’s.
â€śSo I’m coming out of ‘retirement’.â€ť
In the past two years Pasley has raised over $11,000 for the children’s hospital and after making over $8000 of that last year his goal is to reach the $20,000 three year total mark this year. Pasley personally hands over all donations directly to Riley’s. Starting next week fireman’s boots will begin to make their appearance around several local businesses to collect any spare change or other donation which also goes directly to the hospital.
â€śLast year we had fireman with us as we finished the race along the parade route,â€ť said Pasley. â€śWe were able to raise almost $1800 right there in the crowd as we finished the race.â€ť
Pasley will be joined this year by fellow Plymouth Firefighter Darren Miller, and other firemen from Mishawaka, Koontz Lake and Walkerton.