The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) and Dover International Speedway presented the Miles the Monster trophy on Saturday, December 10 to the Cressona Fire Company No. 1 of Cressona, Pennsylvania for winning the Firehouse Challenge contest. Thirty-five of the department’s 100 members attended the annual Firefighter Appreciation event during the AAA 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Dover on October 2.
The department celebrated their victory with a parade that began at the Cressona Mall and wound through the town. Thirty-eight pieces of apparatus from 18 area departments participated. The parade ended at the firehouse for the official trophy presentation by representatives from the NFFF and Dover International Speedway.
Since 2007, Dover has partnered with the NFFF to host the special event for firefighters and their families before the Monster Mile’s fall NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. The event allows firefighters and their families to honor and remember lost loved ones. It has also raised more than $305,000 for the Foundation over the past four years.
Leroy Long, vice president of the all-volunteer Cressona department, heard about the Firefighter Appreciation and Firefighter Challenge and arranged a trip as a fun outing for the department and as a great way to support the efforts of the Foundation. Ten members signed up immediately and before long, with just a little advertising, they had enough people to fill a bus. Larger fire departments from the region were also at the event, so Long never thought that Cressona, which serves a town of roughly 3,000, would win.
“We consider it to be a privilege to be involved with the mission of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation that supports the family and loved ones of our fellow brothers and sisters who have died in the line of duty,” said Long.
The Firehouse Challenge was introduced this year to add a friendly competition to the annual event. The trophy, which will be displayed for one year at the Cressona firehouse, is a replica of the Miles the Monster trophy that is presented to the winning drivers at Dover.
“The Foundation is thrilled by the excitement and fun this Challenge has generated,” said Cathy Hedrick, corporate relations specialist with the NFFF. “Having firefighters enjoy an event along with the chance to give back to the families of our fallen heroes is a win-win.”
The members of Cressona Fire Department No. 1 are taking this win seriously and plan to retain their title as Firehouse Challenge champions for 2012. Long and his fellow firefighters have already secured 75 tickets and are arranging for two buses to get the group there.
For more information about the annual Firefighter Appreciation Events at Dover International Speedway and other NASCAR tracks, visit www.firehero.org.