Ohio firefighter Mike Manning continues to make strides as he rides across America to help raise support and funding for burn survivors. Mike originally left Boston on May 8th on a 3,100 mile bicycle trek en route to San Jose, California. But a serious injury along the way nearly sidelined him. Refusing to quit his one-man-journey, Mike tapped the generous resources of his Germantown Fire Chief, who loaned Mike a “Firefighters Edition” — fire engine red of course — Harley Davidson so Mike could finish the trip. The goal: raise $100,000 for the Phoenix-Society for Burn Survivors, a non-profit based in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Mike is staying at 40 fire stations along the way to avoid using any donations for food or lodging. His new form of transportation has allowed him to visit many more burn centers, where he is meeting with patients and staff and talking about his journey.
Mike was in Colorado Springs recently, where he visited the Fallen Firefighters Memorial. “A tribute such as this to honor our fallen brothers and sisters stops you in your tracks as you see all the names of those who have given their lives for the safety of others,” Manning said. While in Denver, Mike was able to meet two of the many burn survivors who have taken time to meet him and thank him for his spirit and determination to finish the ride. Erin Mounsey and his girlfriend Melissa, who are both burn survivors, are helping to establish a Survivors Offering Assistance in Recovery (SOAR) program in Denver. SOAR is a collaborative effort between the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors and burn centers across the country to help offer support and resource programs to burn survivors. Started in 2001, the SOAR program has now blossomed to 30 burn centers across the country and growing.
Mike is now headed towards Las Vegas, Fresno, Los Angeles, Sacramento and then on to San Jose, where his ride will end on June 20th. There is still time to help support Mike and his efforts. To donate or to find out more information go to www.phoenix-society.org. Mike would also like to hear from as many fellow firefighters as possible on his blog at: www.feeltheburn2007.blogspot.com