one by one®: Firefighter Challenge
First responders must have tremendous physical strength and stamina. They also require tough mental fortitude and willpower, as well as excellent decision-making, teamwork and collaboration skills.
Founded in 1999, the First Responder Institute began as a “living laboratory” aimed at studying the rigors firefighters and first responders put their bodies and minds through as they respond to emergency situations. It helped develop the Firefighter Challenge, a course with obstacles that tests individuals or teams by increasing heart rate and requiring endurance.
“Once the study was complete, the firefighters had so much fun that it morphed into an international event,” said Russell Jackson, CEO. “It inspires them to always be at their absolute best, ready for the call.”
The Challenge, which tours both nationally and internationally, has also become an official sport called the Firefighter Challenge League (FCL). Competitors train to win, and also beat, world records.
“Not everyone who participates is an athlete necessarily. They come as they are, encouraged with all the love and brotherhood of the fire service,” Russell said. “Some really get serious about being world champions, others use it as a fun way to improve their work.”
How promotional certificate holders remind challengers of their accomplishments
The Firefighter Challenge helps first responders from all walks of life with their goals, which often go beyond physical fitness aspirations.
“The competitors that do come out, they have amazing stories to share,” Russell explained. “Some may have been struggling with PTSD because of a challenging call. Others use it as a recovery process from an injury or medical condition. Some might use it as a weight-loss program.”
Some competitors end up surprising themselves with what they can accomplish. Russell recalls a specific female competitor from the 2022 season who joined in the Challenge for the first time, and in the process, set a new world record for the event.
“She didn’t expect that because she hadn’t done a lot of training specific to the Challenge,” Russell stated. “She was just very active as a firefighter in making sure she was ready for that call. We were so proud of her. It was an emotional moment that caught her, and everyone else, off guard. She saw that when you apply yourself, you can achieve anything.”
At the end of the Challenge, all the first, second and third-place winners, world-record setters and new competitors receive a certificate to commemorate their achievements, along with a promotional certificate holder imprinted with the Firefighter Challenge logo.
“The certificate holders are a nice way to present the certificate and safeguard it as the competitors travel back home,” Russell explained. “It’s very classy.”
Russell is excited the Challenge is growing and hopes the trend continues. Last year, over 200 new competitors joined the Challenge, often paying out of their own pocket to travel and participate. He hopes even more will have the opportunity to do so in the future.
“We’re totally funded by donations,” Russell explained. “This shows the love and generosity of the companies and cities that support America’s first responders. It’s not a cheap thing to do. It’s a testament to the support that so many have for these brave men and women.”
A note from Cheryl
It is exciting to see the Firefighter Challenge support programming that serves first responders and their overall well-being. 4imprint is pleased to play a small role in the Firefighter Challenge’s mission by providing promotional certificate holders. To learn more about a 4imprint one by one® grant, visit onebyone.4imprint.com.