2018-01-19 / Front Page

Fight for Air will feature local crew

By Michael Kelley Staff Writer


Scarborough Fire Department firefighters and emergency medial technicians Shannon Mazyck, Ryan Ouellette, Mike Stephenson and (back row) Tom Selby, Nate Contreras, Cam Libby, Nate Bennett, Adam Madura and Austin McKearney pose at the 2017 Fight for Air Climb in Boston. Next month the department will be fielded another team to participate in the event, which raises money for the American Lung Association. (Courtesy photo) Scarborough Fire Department firefighters and emergency medial technicians Shannon Mazyck, Ryan Ouellette, Mike Stephenson and (back row) Tom Selby, Nate Contreras, Cam Libby, Nate Bennett, Adam Madura and Austin McKearney pose at the 2017 Fight for Air Climb in Boston. Next month the department will be fielded another team to participate in the event, which raises money for the American Lung Association. (Courtesy photo) Next month, 12 members of the Scarborough Fire Department will be donning their full firefighting gear (pants, coat and helmet), strapping on an air pack and climbing the 789 steps up One Boston Place, a 41-floor office building in the Financial District of Boston.

On Feb. 2, 12 first responders in Scarborough will be one of more than 100 teams, including 70 made up of firefighters and emergency responders, taking part in Boston’s Fight for Air Climb, an event that takes place in skyscrapers all over the country and has been the signature fundraising event for the American Lung Association. Last year more than 30,000 participants at 52 Fight for Air Climb sites raised more than $8.3 million.

The Scarborough team includes team captain Thomas Selby, Nate Bennett, Angie and Nathaniel Contreras, Mike Gallant, Deane Gower, Nick Hegarty, Adam Madura, Shannon Mazyck, Austin Mckearney, Ryan Ouellette and Mike Stephenson. They will be among the 2,000 people taking part in the event, which is aimed at raising funding for education, advocacy and research for those individuals living with lung disease, including COPD, lung cancer and asthma.

“Being firefighters, we have numerous individuals who die every year due to lung disease from the on-the-job events they respond to,” said Selby, who has participated in the climb for six years and has been with the Scarborough Fire Department since June 2004 when he was a live-in student.

For the second year in a row, Selby, who is a full-time firefighter and emergency responder at the Dunstan Fire Station, will be participating in the Fight for Air Climb in memory of Peter Chadbourne Sr., a longtime custodian at the Scarborough Public Safety Building who passed away from lung cancer Nov. 30, 2016.

“Peter was always such a happy guy. If you were having a bad day, he’s the guy you wanted to see,” said Selby, who worked in the Public Safety building for eight years. “Peter smoked for years, but stopped cold turkey one day and then got diagnosed with lung cancer. It was a real setback for us.”

“Peter was a great colleague and a really great friend,” added Selby, who kept Chadbourne and his family company for six days while Chadborune was at the Gosnell Memorial Hospice House in Scarborough.

This will be the third time Stephenson has participated in the event, which he calls 20 minutes of pain.

“Halfway up I’ll think what did I get myself into, but when I get to the top, I’ll say ‘that wasn’t too bad. It was 20 minutes of pain, but I raised a few thousand dollars. I’ll do it again next year,’” said Selby, 61, who has again set a goal of raising $2,000, a target he is confident he will reach.

As of Jan. 17, he had raised $1,108, about 39 percent of the team’s total of $2,864.

Selby said navigating the 82 flights of stairs at One Boston Place, the fifth tallest building in the city, is no easy task, especially with all the equipment on.

“It’s a mind game, but you can do it,” he said, adding his goal is simple: start at the bottom and work his way to the top.

The event not only raises money for the American Lung Association, Stephenson said Fight for Air Climb also builds camaraderie with his fellow emergency responders.

The climb is one of three in New England. Other climbs take place at the Omni Providence, a 22-floor hotel in Providence, Rhode Island March 24 and at Hartford 21, a 36-floor apartment building in Hartford, Connecticut April 21.

“We will tease each other, but at the end of the day we are all doing it for the same reason,” said Stephenson, a call company member at the North Scarborough Fire Station.

“We are all one big family in public safety. We cheer each other along and try to get spirits up when some of them are huffing and puffing, because it is draining,” Selby said.

There are a dozen firefighting departments participating including Lewiston, Scarborough, Gorham, South Portland, Sanford, Brunswick, Freeport, North Yarmouth, Topsham, West Bath, Yarmouth and Portland, which has been the top firefighting team for the last four years.

Staff Writer Michael Kelley can be reached at news@scarboroughleader.com.

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