Clinton Township firefighters raise funds for American Lung Association

By: Alex Szwarc | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published June 12, 2021

 Clinton Township Firefighters Brett Isett, left; Joseph Goeddeke; and Terry Hollstein raised over $1,200 for the Fight For Air Climb at Comerica Park in Detroit. The walk was on May 23.

Clinton Township Firefighters Brett Isett, left; Joseph Goeddeke; and Terry Hollstein raised over $1,200 for the Fight For Air Climb at Comerica Park in Detroit. The walk was on May 23.

Photo provided by Clinton Township Fire Department

CLINTON TOWNSHIP/DETROIT — Step by step, they made their way through the stadium in full gear.

On May 23, three members of the Clinton Township Fire Department participated in the Fight For Air Climb at Comerica Park in Detroit.

Over $352,000 was collectively raised, with funds benefiting the American Lung Association. The Clinton Township Fire Fighters Local 1381 raised $1,250, with Joe Goeddeke, Terry Hollstein and Brett Isett participating.

All firefighter participants were asked to wear full structural firefighting personal protective equipment. It included boots, turnout coat and pants liners, helmet, gloves, and self-contained breathing apparatus harness with an air cylinder.

Goeddeke has been with the department for seven years and said the event was to raise money for causes like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma.

“Ever since the fire academy, I’ve done it about four times,” he said. “It was very warm, but we had all our gear on. We started on the third level and zigzagged down the stairs. It was definitely difficult.”

Firefighters and first responders walked about 2,100 stairs.

It took Goeddeke about 29 minutes, finishing in the top half out of the roughly 110 firefighter participants.

“With the past year, we wanted to do something positive and raise money for a great cause that we are fairly familiar with,” he said.

The climb’s website states that 88 cents of every dollar raised by an organization goes directly to education, research and advocacy.

Clinton Township Fire Chief Timothy Duncan said the event previously was held at the Renaissance Center, but it was moved outdoors this year.

“I knew a few of our guys and retirees had done it in the past,” he said. “We appreciate what they did quite a bit. The guys are out there exposing themselves to the public and doing it for a good cause.”

Duncan added that it’s nice that the department has equipment that helps firefighters do a better job with firefighting and staying fit, which parlays into events like the Fight For Air Climb.

“They were in their full PPE gear, with bunker pants and coat and an SCBA tank on their back,” Duncan said.

This was Isett’s third climb, and he noted that being a firefighter, they always love a good challenge.

“It’s a good cause, so it’s a win-win,” he said. “We try to go through without stopping and it’s a good time to hang out and get together with the guys outside of work.”

Isett finished the walk in 33 minutes.

“We’re always looking to give back and support the community,” he said. “I want to thank everyone for donating. It’s well spent and hopefully it can help a lot of people, especially in these times right now.”

Hollstein has done the walk the past three years.

“My grandfather died of lung cancer, so it was something to pay tribute to him, as well,” he said. “He also was a firefighter. I enjoy the physical part of it, even though it was a brutal day.”

Unlike past walks, Hollstein said the stairs were steeper at Comerica Park than at the Renaissance Center and the Ally Detroit Center, and the sun was beating down.

The American Lung Association works to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease.

Goeddeke said the plan is to get more local firefighters to participate in 2022.