Firefighters Walk

Firefighters gearing up for Relay For Life walk


Bob Jamison went from having a son who was healthy and playing little league baseball to having a boy with no hair and weak from going through chemotherapy.

“I watched a healthy young man die in five years,” he said.

In remembrance, every year he puts on his firefighting suit and walks a lap for his son.

For the last three years Jamison, Deputy Fire Chief at Sandycreek Township volunteer fire department, participated in the firefighters walk at Relay For Life. The walk consists of firefighters from eight fire departments in Venango county gearing up and walking for cancer.

Jamison’s son died nine years ago at the age of 17. He battled brain cancer and tumors for five years.

After brain surgery, Jamison said doctors thought they had got 95 percent of the cancer. Eighteen months later it returned. Jamison said he knew it would be fatal.

“[Cancer] doesn’t pick and choose,” Jamison said.

He spent the last months with his son taking him to chemotherapy and experimental treatments. One day Jamison said he told his son he didn’t have to go through the treatments anymore. His son responded selflessly by telling his father it could help someone else in the future.

“Nobody should have to go through a disease like this,” Jamison said. “Anything I can do to help the Cancer Society rid the population of the disease, I’ll do.”

Jake Hoovler, fireman at Oil City fire department, started the firefighters walk to give back to the community.

Jamison and Hoovler said they also walk because firefighters have double the risk of getting cancer compared to the average person.

In 2012, Hoovler put on his full gear and walked alone at Relay For Life.

“Everything we do stays here to help people in the community,” Hoovler said.

The firefighters walk is just another addition to programs like 5K and Coats for Kids the fire department organizes.

The walk continued into 2013 where Venango County fire stations joined in and raised $400. Last year they raised $2,000 for the American Cancer Society.

To be apart of the walk Hoovler said to just show up and give a donation. There is no pre-registration to join.

Run or walk. The firefighters go from one lap to 9 miles, which is Hoovler’s record.

This year the firefighters will be starting at 8 p.m Saturday at Relay For Life on Oil City High School’s track.

Republished with permission from The Derrick.

First Published Thursday, May 28, 2015

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