Donuts and Other Worthy Causes

By Diane Feldman

Now if the Fun Run had donuts….

You may have heard that the Yenta is entering her first 5K charity run—the 2011 Courage and Valor Fun Run, to be held at FDIC 2011 on March 24 in Indianapolis. I am sure if you cannot attend there will be video posted on YouTube within 24 hours of the race of the Yenta crossing the Finish Line (unless I haven’t finished by then!). Now the Yenta has NEVER run before, much less in a race, and she has been training at the gym since the fall. So what would be a good incentive to run/finish the race? How can the Fun Run be even more fun? And then she saw on the TV news a story about the “Krispy Kreme Challenge.”                                                                                        

The Krispy Kreme Challenge is an annual race in Raleigh, North Carolina, benefiting the NC Children’s Hospital. Beginning in 2004 with 12 participants, the race has grown to more than 7,000 runners. The race begins at the NC State Belltower. Each runner runs two miles to a Krispy Kreme store. After downing a dozen donuts, the runner must run the two miles back—in an hour.

Note to Fun Run organizers: Add donuts! You will see the number of participants DOUBLE, at the very least!

For more info on entering the Courage and Valor Fun Run, even if there are no donuts involved, go to and click on the Fun Run link.


What goes with donuts? Beer!

A group of Virginia firefighters vacations on the shores of Corolla, North Carolina, every year. Over the past four years, the group has doubled in size from six to 12. It is out of one of these vacations that the idea for the “Tower of Power” emerged.

The “Tower of Power” is a 40-foot beer bong that can help the “end user” quickly down the three beers it easily holds.

“The first year we all went down in 2006, one of our friends who attended college before he became a firefighter had the idea about actually making this thing. We had a four-story deck on this huge house, and we had to put it to use. An hour later, after one trip to the hardware store, the ‘Tower of Power’ was up and running,” says Donnie Wedding, a firefighter in Stafford, Virginia, and a Fire Engineering author.

“All of our neighbors from the other houses started coming over and wanted to drink out of it because it was one of the craziest things they had ever seen. Looking back at the photos, I certainly can see why. It’s also on the checklist before we leave every year. It has become a staple in our vacation experience,” Wedding adds.

The “equipment” was recently featured in the February 2011 issue of Maxim.

If you want to drink from the “Tower of Power,” contact Donnie Wedding at



Another good cause

Mush For a Cure is a noncompetitive sled dog “FUNdraiser” with proceeds donated to institutions helping in the fight against breast cancer. Mush For a Cure is not a race; it is a fun event to celebrate the sport of dog mushing and to cap off a winter of hard work, training, and racing while raising funds to find a cure for breast cancer. In 2010, participants raised more than $23,000 in pledges, and a check for $30,000 was sent to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. To date, Mush For a Cure has donated $70,000.

Sue Prom and Mary Black founded the organization. Sue is a volunteer firefighter for the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department. She and her husband Mike own and operate Voyageur Canoe Outfitters, a full-service wilderness outfitter/resort at the end of the historic Gunflint Trail. Mary Black and her husband Mark own and operate Black Magic Kennels, a competitive racing sled dog kennel that offers “Off the Beaten Path” dog sled rides.

In 2006, Sue and Mary met while playing on the same softball team. They decided to partner in founding and sponsoring a dogsled pledge run to raise money for breast cancer. In March 2007, four women participated in the inaugural Mush For a Cure, raising $2,500. In 2010, the event had grown to 52 participants who raised more than $23,000.

For more info, go to

Sad passing

The Yenta is sad to report the passing of Josephine Harris. If her name doesn’t ring a bell, ask the firefighters of FDNY Ladder 6 in Chinatown about her. They carried her to safety during the collapse of the World Trade Center and credit their own survival in part to having stopped to help her down the stairs of the North Tower. They miraculously survived the collapse in the stairwell between the fourth and first floors; the building fell around them.

Josephine was a bookkeeper for the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey on September 11, 2001. There is a debate about whether the firefighters lived because they stopped to carry her down the stairs or whether she lived because the firefighters found her and assisted her, but it is considered one of the 9-11 miracles that they all survived.

On that terrible day, Ladder 6 members had been climbing Stairway B in 1 World Trade Center when they headed back down. They encountered Josephine at the 14th or 15th floor. She had been walking down from the 73rd floor but was exhausted. They assisted her as far as the fourth floor, when she collapsed. They refused to leave her.

Josephine briefly returned to work for the Port Authority but had a lasting injury she sustained on September 11. Eventually she stopped working. She died of an apparent heart attack, and her body lay unclaimed in the morgue, according to local TV news reports. A local funeral home ended up paying the funeral costs and members of Ladder 6 served as pallbearers at her funeral.

It was a sad passing of a remarkable life.



The Yenta
Diane Feldman, a 21-year veteran of PennWell Corp., is executive editor of Fire Engineering and conference director of FDIC. She has a B.A. in English communications. She has been a yenta (look it up) for most of her life. If you have a story for the Yenta, e-mail

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